Calendar of racism and resistance (16-29 August)

August 31, 2018 — News

Written by IRR News Team

A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.

Asylum and migration 

August: Frontex publishes its risk assessment of the west Balkans route taken by refugees, download Western Balkans annual risk assessment 2018 here

15 August: London mayor Sadiq Khan and the victims’ commissioner call on the home secretary to protect victims of crime with insecure immigration status, after revelations of arrest and deportation for those reporting crime to police. (The Voice, 15 August 2018)

15 August: Six hundred people gather at Manneken Pis in central Brussels to protest the detention of a family, including young children, at the detention centre 127bis in Steenokkerzeel, just outside Brussels. (Brussels Times, 16 August 2018)

15 August: An Afghani teenager who said he feared persecution in his home country for being gay, is refused asylum in Austria because he does not ‘walk, act or dress’ like a gay man, according to the immigration officer. (Guardian, 15 August 2018)

16 August: It is revealed that the refusal rate for spouses seeking to stay in the UK following domestic violence doubled between 2012 and 2016. (Guardian, 16 August 2018)

16 August: The European Court of Human Rights grants its third injunction ordering the Hungarian government to give food to refused asylum seekers, expelled to a ‘transit zone’ at the border and denied food under a new law in effect since 1 July. Food distribution in the transit zone is resumed on 23 August. (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 17, 23 August 2018)

17 August: The German government admits to illegally deporting five asylum seekers in 2018 whilst their claims were being processed. (Deutche Welle, 17 August 2018)

17 August: Home Office delays of up to twenty years in dealing with asylum claims are revealed by freedom of information requests. (Guardian, 17 August 2018)

17 August: Women refugees claim they were beaten, stripped naked, sexually assaulted and subjected to Islamophobic abuse by Croatian border guards as they tried to cross from Bosnia. (AYS, 17 August 2018)

20 August: The government calls for submissions to the ‘Lessons Learned’ review it has commissioned into the Windrush scandal, including from NGOs and researchers as well as Home Office staff and those affected. See the call for evidence here.

21 August: It is announced that the home secretary is to give a formal apology to eighteen of the 164 members of the Windrush generation who were wrongly removed or detained. (BBC, 21 August 2018)

21 August: The Court of Appeal rules that the Home Office must allow a seriously ill migrant to work and to have NHS treatment while she challenges the decision to refuse her further leave to remain. (Guardian, 21 August 2018)

22 August: Campaign group Global Justice Now reports that 100 MPs have signed the pledge not to report migrants seeking help from them to the Home Office since the launch of the campaign ‘MPs not border guards’ with Migrants Organise, in July. See the details and write to your MP here. (Global Justice Now, 22 August 2018)

22 August: A hundred sub-Saharan migrants force their way over razor wire fences into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, in Morocco, with many injured. (Reuters, 22 August 2018)

22 August: The parliamentary joint committee on human rights’ inquiry into immigration detention is still accepting written submissions, until the deadline of 7 September, the committee tweets. (Joint Committee on Human Rights, 22 August 2018)

23 August: Crew members of the NGO search-and-rescue ships MV Lifeline and Sea Watch 3 carry a coffin draped in an EU flag to symbolically mark the ‘death of human rights’ to the court in Valetta, Malta, where captain Claus-Peter Reisch faces charges for using the Lifeline for rescue work while it is registered as a pleasure boat. Watch a video here. (Malta Today, 23 August 2018)

25 August: After being placed under formal investigation by a chief prosecutor for possible illegal detention and kidnapping, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini allows the remaining 134 migrants on board the Diciotti, stranded at the port of Catania, Sicily since 15 August, to disembark. (Guardian, 25 August 2018)

26 August: A study finds that major cuts to English language and other projects to help integration are fuelling local tensions in poor areas in the UK. (Observer, 26 August 2018)

27 August: A Guardian investigation reveals that since 2010, the Home Office has made over 5,700 changes to the immigration rules, which have more than doubled in length to 373,000 words. (Guardian, 27 August 2018)

27 August: Around 100 migrants and refugees camped in eastern Attica stage a road block on the Athens-Lamia national highway to protest living conditions at the Malakasa hotspot, flooded due to heavy rainfall. (Greek City Times, 27 August)

28 August: The family of Dexter Bristol, a Windrush citizen who died after being told he was in the UK illegally and sacked from his job, walk out of an inquest after the coroner refuses to join the Home Office as an interested party. (Guardian, 28 August 2018)

 

Policing and criminal justice

15 August: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) clears the police officer who arrested and detained Rashan Charles of misconduct, stating that the officer’s restraint technique, although ‘unorthodox’, may not have contributed to his death in east London last year. (Guardian, 15 August 2018)

21 August: The five Metropolitan police officers facing gross misconduct charges over the death of Sean Rigg in police custody will not face a hearing until January 2019 at the earliest, over a decade after Sean’s death, it is reported. (Guardian, 21 August 2018)

25 August: Scotland Yard drops the use of facial recognition technology at the Notting Hill Carnival following widespread complaints about the disproportionate targeting of BAME communities. (Guardian, 25 August 2018)

Anti-fascism and the far Right 

15 August: Former members of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism write to the Guardian, saying that the threat from the far Right is now so great that an ANL-type cultural and political campaign needs to be launched. (Guardian, 15 August 2018)

16 August: After hundreds of far-right PEGIDA and AfD supporters, chanting ‘enemy of the people’, protest against Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Dresden, Merkel promises to speed up deportations. (Deutsche Welle, 16 August 2018)

17 August: A court in Gothenburg, Sweden rules that the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, standing in the general election for the first time, can hold two election rallies in Kungälv on the grounds that ‘freedom of association is protected under the Swedish constitution’. (The Local, 17 August 2018)

17 August: In Oxford town centre, the Carfax stall of activists campaigning against Boris Johnson-linked racist attacks on Muslim women, is attacked by two men who throw the books on the floor, tear up newspapers, attempt to kick the stall over, shove campaigners and shout at passersby that the campaigners are ‘known paedophiles’. (The Oxford Student, 23August 2018)

18 August: Mark Rowley, former head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism unit, says it is time to acknowledge the threat of far-right groups, citing National Action as the first domestic neo-Nazi white supremacist group. (Guardian, 18 August 2018)

18 August: In the Finnish town of Turku, one thousand anti-fascists outnumber 300 members of the Nordic Resistance Movement commemorating the one-year anniversary of a knife attack by a Moroccan asylum seeker claiming to represent Islamic State. (Reuters, 18 August 2018)

19 August: Elisabeth Peterson, election candidate for the far-right Sweden Democrats in Växjö, is reported to have shared a song on Facebook with the chorus ‘Swedes are white and the country is ours’. (The Local, 19 August 2018)

21 August: Pakistan formally protests to the Dutch government after Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom party, announces a new Mohammed cartoon contest and claims that he has already received 200 entries. (Dutch News, 21 August 2018).

23 August: A debate about the growth in far-right attitudes amongst state officials in Germany erupts after it emerges that an off-duty police officer attended the anti-Islam PEGIDA rally in Dresden on 16 August and tried to stop a TV crew filming it, even managing to detain journalists for forty-five minutes. The incident was filmed and went viral on YouTube. (Guardian, 23 August 2018)

24 August: Pro-Franco demonstrations are held after the Spanish cabinet agree to exhume the remains of the dictator, which have lain in the Valley of the Fallen, north of Madrid since 1976. (Guardian, 25 August 2018)

25 August: Ten supporters of Britain First, including party leader Paul Golding, stage a demonstration in Huddersfield town centre demanding ‘action against grooming gangs’ but are immediately outnumbered by anti-racism protestors who say they have no place in the town. (The Huddersfield Examiner, 25 August 2018)

27 August: German chancellor Angela Merkel condemns the ‘hunting down’ of foreigners as police in Saxony lose control of the streets in the eastern city of Chemnitz. After a German man dies in a street brawl with immigrants, far-right group PEGIDA calls a demonstration that descends into rioting, with protesters using bottles to attack anyone ‘foreign-looking’. (Guardian, 27 August 2018)

29 August: In Germany, a judicial investigation is opened after Saxony police admit that the arrest warrant for an Iraqi man wanted in connection with a German man’s murder in Chemnitz was leaked to the far Right and tweeted by Lutz Bachmann, a founding member of PEGIDA, quickly circulating online. (Guardian, 29 August 2018)

Education 

20 August: New data shows that the number of racism-related exclusions in Staffordshire schools has recently increased by 55%. (Staffordshire live, 20 August 2018)

23 August: In Germany, the women’s rights group Terre des Femmes is accused of discrimination after it launches a petition calling for a headscarf ban for children in schools and day-care centres on the grounds that the headscarf is a symbol of religion, sexualisation and discrimination. (Deutsche Welle, 23 August 2018)

Housing

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

19 August: With no bids for new asylum housing contracts, fourteen Yorkshire local authority heads write to the home secretary threatening to pull out of the dispersal scheme, which they say is not working properly. (Guardian, 19 August 2018)

19 August: The Equalities and Human Rights Commission warns the government that it is violating human rights obligations to protect life by failing to act over combustible cladding despite the Grenfell Tower fire. (Observer, 19 August 2018)

Sport

15 August: Following complaints of ‘racially inappropriate language’, Manchester City FC opens an investigation into a scouting manager accused of describing black footballers as ‘big, black, and quick’. (ESPN, 5 August)

Media and culture

17 August: The Big Brother reality TV franchise issues a formal warning to contestant Rodrigo Alves for his use of ‘highly offensive’ racial slurs, after Ofcom receives 1,038 complaints. (New magazine, 17 August 2018)

17 August: BBC broadcaster Nathalie Haynes ends her patronage of the Classics for All charity in response to fellow patron Boris Johnson’s ‘dog-whistling racist and misogynist’ comments. (Politics Home, 17 August 2018)

19 August: Layton Williams, 23, a West End performer, claims to have been kicked out of an Edinburgh Fringe venue for looking ‘suspicious’, prompting accusations of racial profiling. (Edinburgh Evening News, 19 August)

Electoral politics

17 August: Eighty-four Black, ethnic minority and migrant groups write to the Independent arguing for the right of Palestinian people to articulate their history, which they say would be prohibited by Labour’s adoption of all the examples of anti-Semitism appended to the IHRA definition. (Independent, 17 August 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

24 August: British Transport Police appeal for information after a taxi driver is racially abused, kicked in the head and robbed of his money and mobile phone at Shipley railway station. (Pulse1, 24 August 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on religious centres

15 August: The Masjid Qamarul Islam mosque and Al-Hijrah mosque in the Small Heath area of Birmingham are subjected to catapult attacks, shortly after the leaders of Birmingham Central Mosque report increasing Islamophobia in the wake of the arrest of Birmingham man Salih Khater for driving his car into barriers outside Westminster. (Independent, 15 August 2018)

28 August: Police investigate a suspected arson attack on the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, a Sikh temple in Edinburgh, causing extensive smoke damage but no injuries. The Scottish justice secretary claims the incident involved a petrol-bomb. (Independent, 28 August)

Violence and harassment: abuse

17 August: Northumbria Police investigate an unprovoked Islamophobic attack in Gateshead town centre after a woman was subject to verbal abuse in front of her family. (Chronicle Live, 17 August).

 Violence and harassment: convictions

16 August: A Scottish court sentences far-right activist Peter Morgan, 35, to twelve years for terrorist offences including preparing an improvised bomb from ball bearings. (Guardian, 16 August 2018)

18 August: Dundee Sheriff Court places Joel Justice, 27, on a community payback order for shouting anti-Semitic and Islamophobic abuse and for assaulting a police officer. (Evening Telegraph, 18 August)

21 August: Austin Ross, who previously set fire to a Masonic school and distributed Nazi graffiti and posters, is jailed for six years after pleading guilty to fifteen counts of racially aggravated harassment, damage to property, and arson. (BBC News, 21 August)

 

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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