Calendar of racism and resistance (17 May – 7 June 2018)

June 7, 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

15 May: Canada grants political asylum to Viktória Mohácsi, a former Hungarian MEP and Roma rights activist. After exposing police incompetence in the Roma serial killers case, Mohácsi received constant threats and sought police protection. (Hope not Hate, 15 May 2018)

homesnotborders17 May: The Home Office announces the suspension of the quarterly checks of the immigration status of current account holders it has demanded of banks since January under hostile environment policies. (Guardian, 17 May 2018)

19 May: After a three-year fight against deportation, Commonwealth champion sprinter Jimmy Thoronka, who overstayed in the UK during the Ebola crisis which devastated his native Sierra Leone, and later discovered it had killed most of his family, is granted leave to remain. (Guardian, 19 May 2018)

22 May: The High Court gives permission for a legal challenge against the Home Office to seek a public inquiry into racism, brutality and abuse at Brook House immigration removal centre, following the September 2017 screening of a BBC Panorama undercover investigation. (Independent, 22 May 2018)

23 May: The Data Protection Act 2018 is passed, containing an exemption for immigration control purposes which prevents migrants knowing what information the Home Office holds on them and whether or not it is accurate. (Parliament, 23 May 2018)

23 May: A migrant, whose name and nationality is unknown, becomes the fifth person to drown this year whilst attempting to cross the Kupa River on the Slovenian-Croatian border. (Infomigrants, 23 May 2018)

24 May: The French government announces that thousands of migrants living in makeshift camps along the Paris canals will be moved, in what will be the thirty-fifth eviction since 2015. (The Local, 24 May 2018)

25 May: The director-general of immigration enforcement at the Home Office, Hugh Ind, leaves his job as the number of long resident Commonwealth citizens in the UK who have suffered through their inability to prove their right to be in the UK passes 5,000. (Guardian, 25 May 2018)

At the funeral of Mawda, a two-year-old Kurdish Iraqi girl, who died after being shot near Mons, Belgium

At the funeral of Mawda, a two-year-old Kurdish Iraqi girl, who died after being shot near Mons, Belgium

25 May: The House of Commons Defence Select Committee condemns the government’s failure to protect thousands of Afghan former interpreters, weeks after home secretary Sajid Javid bowed to pressure over 150 interpreters seeking permanent stay in the UK, including waiving a £2,389 application fee. (Guardian, 25 May 2018)

25 May: During protests in France and Belgium over the death of a two-year old Iraqi Kurdish child, twenty people are detained after Kurdish families form a human chain across a highway in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, where the child’s family lived, and in Brussels, protestors hang children’s clothes outside the Palais de Justice to mark their anger. Meeting the child’s parents, the Belgian prime minister promises a full investigation. (ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 25 May 2018)

28 May: As Mamadou Gassama, an undocumented Malian migrant in France, is given French citizenship and an internship in the fire brigade after rescuing a four-year-old child dangling from a fourth-floor balcony in Paris. Migrant rights organisations accuse the government of using the award as PR to mask harsh new measures against undocumented migrants. (Guardian, 28 May 2018)uprooted-and-unprotected

28 May: A new report by the NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (Ctac) finds that more than 120 child refugees, believed to have been trafficked to the UK from northern France, have gone missing. Download the report, Uprooted and unprotected: experiences of children forced into migration through Northern France and a multi-agency approach to safeguarding them here.

29 May: Open Democracy reports on a Serco-run hostel for asylum seekers in Manchester which is ‘riddled with cockroaches, rodents and bedbugs’. (Open Democracy, 29 May 2018)

open-democracy-jg-manchester-story29 May: The Hungarian government introduces the third version of the so-called ‘Stop Soros’ package, which brings within the scope of offences of ‘facilitating illegal immigration’, carrying prison terms of up to a year, activities such as assisting an asylum seeker to submit a claim, conducting human-rights focused border monitoring activities and distributing information leaflets on the asylum procedure. (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 29 May 2018)

29 May: The government agrees to stop deporting highly skilled migrants for minor financial errors under rules designed for threats to national security, pending a review, after a media and parliamentary campaign. (Guardian, 20, 29 May 2018)

30 May: A 73-year-old Amnesty International volunteer, Martine Landry, is charged with assisting two Guinean minors to cross back into France in July 2017, after they were arrested and returned to Italy, and faces five years in prison and a fine. Landry refutes the allegations, saying she took the children to the police to register their asylum claims. (The Local, 31 May 2018)

31 May: Croatian police open fire on a van carrying people across the Bosnian-Croatian border, injuring two children. (Croatia News, 31 May 2018) 

31 May: The Home Office is accused of lacking basic competence over the routine mislaying and loss of vital documents which leave hundreds in limbo. (Guardian, 31 May 2018) 

31 May: NHS trusts and doctors’ leaders condemn as ‘bonkers and barmy’, and a threat to patient safety, the government’s immigration cap under which over 1,500 doctors’ visas were rejected in January to March 2018, when 93,000 medical posts were unfilled, including 10,000 for doctors. (Evening Standard, 31 May 2018)

6 June: The High Court hears a legal challenge to the government’s right to rent policy, a cornerstone of the hostile environment, by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), which claims that it makes landlords far less likely to let to non-British tenants. (Observer, 3 June 2018)jcwi-logo

Policing and criminal justice

18 May: The family of Yassar Yaqub, who died in January 2017 after being shot by police on the M62, hold a vigil on what would have been his thirtieth birthday. (Huddersfield Examiner, 17 May 2018)

18 May: PC Claire Boddie is found not guilty of assault for tasering race relations adviser Judah Adunbi in the face, in a case of mistaken identity, in January 2017 in Bristol. (Bristol Post, 18 May 2018)

At the funeral of Mawda, a two-year-old Kurdish Iraqi girl, who died after being shot near Mons, Belgium

At the funeral of Mawda, a two-year-old Kurdish Iraqi girl, who died after being shot near Mons, Belgium

18 May: Police open fire on a van carrying twenty-six adult refugees and four children, killing a two-year-old Kurdish Iraqi girl, named as Mawda, near Mons, Belgium. Prosecutors initially claim that the girl, who died after a bullet penetrated the vehicle and hit her cheek, had either been taken ill or died as a result of erratic driving during a car chase aimed at stopping people smugglers. (Guardian, 18 May 2018)

23 May: A senior Brussels police officer, Commissioner Geert Verhoeyen, is under investigation after five officers claim he made hateful comments against gays, foreigners and Jews and denied the Holocaust. The chair of the regional police warns of ‘premature judgement’ of the officer before the investigation’s conclusion. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 23 May 2018)

23 May: PC Mark Baird is to face a misconduct hearing for allegedly racially abusing and becoming ‘drunk and aggressive’ towards a Hull nightclub bouncer after he was refused entry. (Hull Daily Mail, 23 May 2018)

23 May: The National Audit Office publishes: Investigation into government-funded inquiries, download it here.

24 May: The Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) finishes its investigation into the death of Mzee Mohammed in Liverpool 2016, meaning an inquest into his death can be held. (Liverpool Echo, 24 May 2018)

24 May: Met police figures reveal that force is four times more likely to be used against black people than white people. Download the data here. (BBC News, 24 May 2018)

30 May: Leading lawyers accuse the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which refers alleged miscarriages of justice to the appeal court, of systemic failures making it unfit for purpose, saying that it referred only 0.77 per cent of the cases it reviewed in 2016-17. (Guardian, 30 May 2018)

4 June: The inquest into the death of Rashan Charles, who died after being restrained in July 2017 in Hackney, is shown CCTV footage of the restraint and hears that the police officer involved felt something was ‘not quite right’. (Guardian, 4 June 2018)

Anti fascism and the far Right

17 May: Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders announces plans to organise a new ‘Mohammed’ cartoon competition that will be exhibited in parliament. (DutchNews.nl, 17 May 2018)

19 May: A Football Lads Alliance (FLA) demonstration marking the anniversary of the Manchester bomb attack is met by counter-protests staged by United Against Fascism and Manchester Stands up to Racism. (Manchester Evening News, 19 May 2018)

21 May: Far-right extremists assault Yannis Boutaris, mayor of Thessaloniki, leaving him with head, back and leg injuries. (Guardian, 21 May 2018)

22 May: The City of London Corporation is criticised for ‘rolling out the red carpet for the far right’ by hosting Italian politician Armando Siri at an event at the Guildhall, which was also attended by Nigel Farage. (Guardian, 22 May 2018)

23 May: Following a complaint by anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate, the Standard Chartered Bank fires Tom Dupre, 23, an employee who was identified as the UK leader of Generation Identity in a Sunday Times article. (CityAM, 23 May 2018)

23 May: Wayne Bell, 37, who was found to be a member of the banned group National Action, is jailed for four years and three months after pleading guilty to two counts of stirring up racial hatred and three counts of possessing multiple items in order to destroy or damage property. (Yorkshire Post, 23 May 2018)

23 May: Saxony-Anhalt’s governing three-party coalition distances itself from a parliamentary inquiry initiated by the far-right Alternative for Germany, into left-wing extremism in the state. Its statement promises that the inquiry, chaired by the AfD’s André Poggenburg, who has described Germans of Turkish origin as ‘camel drivers’, will not become a ‘defamatory instrument’ against civil democratic groups and individuals. (Deutsche Welle, 23 May 2018)

23 May: Berlin activists block the office entrance of Alternative for Germany with five ice blocks containing copies of the German constitution, in order to criticise the far-right party’s ‘chilly’ attitude towards constitutional values. (Politico, 23 May 2018)

27 May: Thousands of anti-fascists, including large contingents from the techno scene, mobilise to ‘stop the hatred, stop the AfD’, following an Alternative for Germany rally in Berlin. (Guardian, 28 May 2018)

29 May: Two days after a demonstration outside Downing Street to protest the arrest of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, following a demonstration at Leeds crown court, it is revealed that he has been jailed for thirteen months for contempt of court. (Independent, 27 May 2018; Guardian, 29 May 2018)

31 May: White supremacist Ethan Stables is detained indefinitely in hospital after being convicted of a terrorism-related attempt to carry out a machete attack at a gay pride event at a pub in Cumbria. (Guardian, 31 May 2018)

2 June: The Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) marches in Manchester and is met with a large counter-protest. (Salford Star, 2 June 2018)

Electoral politics

18 May: The new Italian coalition government of the far-right League party and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) promise a ‘serious and efficient’ programme to drive out ‘illegal migrants’, build more detention centres, close down all ‘unregistered’ Roma camps and build a register of religious leaders. (Guardian, 18 May 2018)

22 May: Inger Stojberg, Denmark’s immigration minister, calls Muslims ‘a danger’ during Ramadan, suggesting that they should abstain from working to ‘avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society’. (New York Times, 22 May 2018)

23 May: Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Italian far-right League party, causes outrage with tweets referring to Roma as ‘gypsy thieves’ and announcing that he would bulldoze their camps. (Al Jazeera, 23 May 2018)

23 May: Stephen Goldsack is sacked as a Conservative councillor in north Lanarkshire after it is revealed he was an active member of the BNP and acted as its Scottish security adviser in 2011. (The National, 23 May 2018)

31 May: The Muslim Council of Britain call for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party, citing nine incidents of Islamophobia from Tory candidates and representatives of the party over the last two months. (MCB press release, 13 May 2018)

1 June: Matteo Salvini, the far-right interior minister of Italy, declares that he intends to keep a campaign promise to round up hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in Italy and ‘send them home’. (Guardian, 1 June 2018)

4 June: The anti-immigration Slovenia Democratic Party (SDS), who campaigned against the EU refugee quota system and are supported by Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán, emerges as the largest party in the Slovenian general election, with 25 per cent of the vote. (Guardian, 4 June 2018)

4 June: More than 350 mosques and Muslim organisations write to the Conservative Party backing calls for a formal inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia. (Independent, 4 June 2018)

5 June: Two Conservative councillors, from Southampton and Brent, are suspended following allegations that they posted Islamophobic social media content. (Independent, 5 June 2018)

Education

17 May: Members of the University of Birmingham’s cheerleading squad are placed on probation following claims of ‘unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour’ when the group allegedly ignored requests to change a Mexican theme on an upcoming tour. (Birmingham Mail, 17 May 2018)

18 May: A Migration Advisory Committee questionnaire to assess the impact of international students at university is scrapped after academics called the survey ‘racist and unethical’. (Independent, 18 May 2018)

22 May: Research by the London School of Economics and the University of Bristol finds that pupils at schools with a diverse racial mix are much more positive about people of different ethnicities. (BBC News, 22 May 2018)

23 May: Data released by Oxford University reveals one in four of its colleges failed to admit a single black British student each year between 2015 and 2017. (Guardian, 23 May 2018)

31 May: UCAS researchers find that 52 per cent of university applications by black students, who make up only 9 per cent of total applications, were investigated for ‘potential fraudulent activity’ between 2013 and 2017, whereas the figure for suspicious applications by white students, who make up 73 per cent of total applications, was 19 per cent. (Guardian, 31 May 2018)

Media and culturebritish-library-windrush-exhib-2

31 May: Christian leaders and public institutions pledge to defy a new ‘cross obligation’ law in Bavaria, under which public buildings must display Christian crosses in entrances as a response to the refugee crisis and the arrival of Muslim migrants. (Guardian, 31 May 2018)

British Library exhibition: Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land

British Library exhibition: Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land

1 June: The exhibition Windrush: Songs in a strange land opens at the British Library, marking 70 years since the Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury carrying a thousand Caribbean migrants. (British Library, 31 May 2018)

Discrimination

31 May: The Danish parliament votes in favour of a ban on Islamic veils to be implemented from August 2018, with a 1,000 kroner (€134) fine for the first offence and up to 10,000 kroner from the fourth violation onwards. (The Local, 31 May 2018)

1 June: The Swiss Federal Council rejects an application to grant the Roma community in Switzerland official status as a national minority under the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. (Swiss info, 1 June 2018)

Employment and labour exploitation

18 May: The International Transport Federation takes the Irish government to court, saying that its official fishing industry permit scheme for migrants from Africa and Asia facilitates the trafficking of victims for modern slavery. (Guardian, 18 May 2018)

23 May: DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, who complained about a racist and misogynistic office culture at Marine Scotland, a Scottish government department, claims she was gagged and taped to a chair by colleagues. (BBC News, 23 May 2018)

Housing

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

(Credit: Daniel Renwick)

15 May: The Court of Appeal rules that Flintshire council acted lawfully when extending the planning permission by five years for Travellers living on a site in Dollar Park, overturning a High Court ruling in a challenge by a local home owner. (Leader Live, 15 May 2018)

5 June: As the Grenfell inquiry hears how Kensington and Chelsea’s ‘dangerous and reprehensible’ refurbishment of the block turned it into a death trap, Imran Khan QC, representing families of the deceased and survivors, calls for the terms of reference to be expanded to include institutional racism. (Guardian, 5 June 2018)

Sport

18 May: Damien Wynter, an ex-youth player at Chelsea, identifies himself publicly to speak about his experiences of racism while training at the club. (BBC News, 18 May 2018)

National security

25 May: The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights raises concerns about the disproportionately stigmatising effects of French counter-terrorism laws on Muslims, highlighting mosque closures as an encroachment on religious freedom, and recommends that an independent body should oversee counter-terrorism powers. (UN News, 25 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

16 May: A man is charged with racially aggravated harassment and using threatening or abusive words, after a member of an ambulance crew working in Lakenheath was racially abused and assaulted. (Ipswich Star, 18 May 2018)

17 May: A 26-year-old man turns himself in after a group of five students were racially abused and attacked whilst waiting for a bus in Newcastle. The attacker head-butted one student and tried to pull off her hijab. (Stoke Sentinel, 17 May 2018)

18 May: The European Roma Rights Support Centre says that the killing of Mitko, a 28-year-old Romani man on 12 May in Shumen, Bulgaria, must be prosecuted as a hate crime against a Romani person. A Bulgarian nationalist known for issuing threats on social media against Roma and Muslims, has been charged with premeditated murder. (ERRC, 18 May 2018)

21 May: British Transport Police in Leeds launch ‘Taxi Watch’, a new scheme that aims to crack down on racially and religiously motivated attacks on taxi drivers, in response to the high number of assaults on drivers in the city. (Leeds Live, 21 May 2018)

22 May: Police appeal for information after a 55-year-old woman was punched in the face for confronting a man who was racially abusing passengers on the 81 bus, between Hounslow and Slough, on 12 May. (Slough Express, 22 May 2018)

24 May: The Derby Telegraph reports on a racist attack in Derby on 5 March, during which Mica Wilks, 29, was racially abused, punched and kicked by a man and two women as she took her 6-month-old nephew for a walk. (Derby Telegraph, 24 May 2018)

31 May: A 32-year-old man is hospitalised after being punched and verbally abused in a racially aggravated attack by a group of men in Leamington on 1 April. (Leamington Observer, 31 May 2018)

2 June: Soumaila Sacko, a  29-year-old Malian man and trade unionist, is shot dead in Calabria, Italy by a white man who opened fire on him and his friends. The USB trades union calls for a nationwide demonstration to protest the racist murder, which they blame on the anti-migrant rhetoric of the new interior minister, Matteo Salvini. (Open Democracy, 6 June 2018)

3 June: A black man walking through Leicester city centre is punched in the face after asking a white man to stop racially abusing a group of Asian men. (Leicester Mercury, 4 June 2018)

4 June: A 39-year-old woman walking to a bus stop in Bolton with her two daughters and son is attacked and left in a critical condition with head injuries. Police later charge Dale Hart, 28, with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm and racially aggravated assault. (Guardian, 4 June 2018, Manchester Evening News, 6 June 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

18 May: Windows are smashed and paint is thrown over the front of two houses belonging to Asian families in Banbridge, County Down in a suspected racist attack. A 33-year-old man is arrested and released on bail. (Belfast Telegraph, 18 May 2018)

1 June: Motahid Ali, 36, the owner of Eurasia Indian restaurant in Hull, is subjected to racist abuse by a group of teenagers who stone his restaurant. (HullLive, 1 June 2018)

5 June: A 23-year-old man is arrested in connection with racist graffiti painted on a fence at the University of South Wales in May. (BBC News, 5 June 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on religious institutions

5 June: A mosque and a gurdwara in Beeston, Leeds are targeted by arsonists in the early hours of the morning; both buildings escape serious damage. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 5 June 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

17 May: A car belonging to a 46-year-old in west Cumbria has a note left on it reading: ‘refugees not welcome in Flimby. Go Home’. (Whitehaven News, 18 May 2018)

17 May: Police appeal for information after an 11-year-old girl is racially abused and chased by a group of children, between a car park and Morrisons supermarket in Welshpool, Wales on 12 May. (County Times, 17 May 2018)

21 May: Police appeal for information after a young child was racially abused at Morrisons in Exeter on 8 May. (Devon Live, 21 May 2018)

23 May: A teenage girl suffers racist and sexually explicit abuse on a train at Balloch station by a young boy aged around 12 or 13; the driver refuses to move the train until the boy disembarks. (Glasgow Live, 23 May 2018)

24 May: Police appeal for information after a 19-year-old worker at Tesco in Cheshunt was racially abused and spat at by a young white man on 11 May. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 24 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: online racism

18 May: It is revealed that a new government online hate crime unit, announced in October 2017, will only employ four police officers. (Huffington Post, 18 May 2018)

19 May: Dan Hett, the brother of Manchester bombing victim Martyn Hett, is targeted by far-right trolls on social media for opposing a demonstration by the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) in the city. (Indy, 21 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: charges

15 May: A 23-year-old man appears at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court and denies racially or religiously aggravated charges for allegedly attacking a worker at Royal Express Kebabs in Tunbridge Wells. (Kent Live, 16 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

17 May: Three 16-year-old boys from Crewe plead guilty to racially aggravated assault and are given youth referral orders for racially abusing a taxi driver in Cheshire, May 2017. (Stoke Sentinel, 17 May 2018)

22 May: Silvester Solecki, 32, pleads guilty to two counts of racially aggravated harassment and possession of a bladed article and is jailed for eighteen months, for repeatedly racially abusing a group of Asians at a train station in Manchester. (Warrington Guardian, 22 May 2018)

23 May: A woman, 18, pleads guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence and charges of assaulting police officers for racially abusing a doctor at Glan Clwyd Hospital. She is ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay fines and compensation. (North Wales Pioneer, 23 May 2018)

24 May: A man, 19, pleads guilty to harassment and is ordered to pay fines and compensation in connection with a widely-circulated video of a Nottingham Trent University student being racially abused in her student halls of residence in March. (BBC News, 24 May 2018)

25 May: Alison Chabloz, 54, is convicted of two counts of causing an offensive, indecent or menacing message to be sent over a public communications network for writing and posting anti-Semitic songs that mocked the Holocaust on YouTube. (BBC News, 25 May 2018)

31 May: Louise Marie Henwood, 31, is jailed for sixteen weeks and order to pay £200 compensation for racially abusing a doctor at Royal Blackburn Hospital and physically assaulting hospital staff on three separate occasions. (Manchester Evening News, 31 May 2018)

1 June: Christopher Jones, 49, is jailed for four years for following two boys, aged 10 and 16, into their yard, racially abusing them and threatening them with a gas-powered revolver. (GazetteLive, 1 June 2018)

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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