Calendar of racism and resistance (20 April – 3 May 2018)

May 3, 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

14 April: The trial of the Stansted 15, who face terror-related charges for grounding a deportation charter flight, is adjourned until 1 October 2018. View details of a crowdfunder for the defendants here.end-deportations

18 April: The Austrian cabinet approves new measures that will force asylum seekers to hand over mobile phones and up to €840 to authorities. It is said that the money will be put towards the cost of asylum applications, while the phone’s geo-location data will be used to confirm accounts of how asylum seekers arrived in the country. (The Local, 18 April 2018)

19 April: The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) calls for the forcible sedation of distressed, vulnerable and mentally ill immigration detainees in order to easily transfer them to hospital. Read the report here. (The National, 19 April 2018)

20 April: Four Italians and two Swiss activists are taken into custody in the French town of Gap, charged with ‘helping illegal immigrants enter national territory’, after around a hundred activists crossed the border into France with a group of thirty people. (The Local, 23 April 2018)

20 April: Theresa May announces that Windrush migrants who suffered ‘anxieties and problems’ as a result of government immigration policy will be paid compensation. (Guardian, 23 April 2018)

20 April: Forensic Oceanography releases a new investigation that questions the key evidence for the Italian authorities’ case against the rescue ship Iuventa, operated by German nonprofit Jugend Rettet. (The Intercept, 20 April 2018)

20 April: The AIRE Centre launch a crowdfunder to bring a legal challenge in the Court of Appeal against Operation Nexus, a joint Met Police and Home Office initiative, which includes people without any convictions to be deported from the UK. View details here.

21 April: Around 100 Generation Identity activists attempt to block a French alpine at Col de l’Echelle near the border with Italy, erecting a ‘symbolic border’ to notify migrants ‘that the border is closed and they must return home’. (The Local, 21 April 2018)

23 April: The French National Assembly passes the first reading of a new immigration and asylum bill, which seeks to reduce undocumented migration by stricter enforcement of expulsion orders and shortening the period allowed for submitting asylum claims. (The Conversation, 26 April 2018)

23 April: The Tribunal Procedure Committee publishes Rules on how cases are handled in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, download it here.

23 April: Asylum seekers staging a sit-in protest in Lesbos against being held on the island are attacked by far-right activists chanting ‘Burn them alive’ and hurling flares and other objects. Police arrest 122 people, 120 of whom are Afghan refugees. (Ekathimerini, 24 April 2018)

23 April: It is reported that the number of missing unaccompanied minors in Belgium has dramatically increased, from 284 in 2016 to 618 missing minors in 2017. (Brussels Times, 23 April 2018)

23 April: Less than a week after Greece’s highest court ruled that preventing asylum seekers from leaving the islands under the EU-Turkey deal was unconstitutional, the Greek asylum service director re-imposes the restrictions. (Ekathimerini, 24 April 2018)

23 April: Commonwealth citizens in the UK since 1973 are promised free British citizenship, without language and ‘knowledge of life in Britain’ tests, the right to return here for those who left, and compensation. (Guardian, 23 April 2018)

24 April: Windrush migrant Sylvester Marshall, who used the name Albert Thompson, previously refused cancer treatment due to questions over his immigration status, is told that his treatment is scheduled to start on 30 May. He is also given the right to remain in the UK permanently. (Guardian, 24, 28 April 2018)

25 April: Home secretary Amber Rudd tells parliament’s Home Affairs Committee that the Home Office did not have removal targets and that the Windrush scandal was not caused by hostile environment policies or targets, but people’s lack of documentation. (Guardian, 25 April 2018)

26 April: Called back the following day, Rudd admits that local targets were used for ‘internal performance management’ but that they were not published to ‘assess performance’. She adds that she would ‘never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people’. Labour calls for her to resign. (Guardian, 26 April 2018)

27 April: A secret memo leaked to the Guardian reveals that the Home Office set a target of 12,800 enforced removals for 2017-18. Rudd tweets that she was unaware of specific removal targets. (Guardian, 27 April 2018)

27 April: The Council of Europe accuses Hungary of mistreating unaccompanied migrants aged 14-18 at its border with Serbia, with scores of children, from countries including Afghanistan and Syria, confined in container camps, surrounded by barbed wire and overseen by armed guards, in violation of human rights and anti-trafficking Conventions. (Deutche Welle, 27 April 2018)

28 April: The Home Office loses its attempt to deport Andrew Van Horn, 47, a Jamaican man detained with Carlington Spencer, who died at Morton Hall in October 2017, when a High Court judge rules that Van Horn should be allowed to remain in the UK as he may be required to give evidence at the inquest. (Guardian, 28 April 2018)

solidarity-with-the-moira-3528 April: A Greek court in Chios finds thirty-two of the ‘Moria 35’ guilty of injury to public officials, following clashes with police during a protest at the Moria camp in Lesbos in July 2017. (Legal Centre Lesbos, 28 April 2018)

29 April: The Guardian reveals a private letter to the prime minister, dated January 2017, in which Rudd sets out her ‘ambitious but deliverable’ plan to increase forced removals by ten per cent. Amber Rudd resigns after ‘inadvertently misleading parliament’ in wrongly claiming that the Home Office had no targets for numbers of enforced removals. (Guardian, 29, 30 April 2018)

30 April: In the wake of Amber Rudd’s resignation, Theresa May defends her ‘hostile environment’ policies, now renamed ‘compliant environment’, which she says respond to a need to tackle illegal immigration. (Guardian, 30 April 2018)

1 May: New home secretary Sajid Javid is asked to look at the removal of up to 4,000 students wrongly accused of cheating on English language tests since 2014, a tenth of the 40,000 whose student visas were revoked after voice recognition tests. Some of those wrongly removed were in their last term of study and were unable to sit degree exams. (Guardian, 1 May 2018)

2 May: As a report reveals that women with insecure immigration status or reliant on a spousal visa are forced to stay with violent partners for fear of deportation, a coalition of women’s groups call for specific protection for migrant women to be included in the government’s proposed Domestic Violence Bill. The deadline for consultation on the proposals is 31 May; respond here. (Guardian, 2 May 2018)

2 May: Women detained at Yarl’s Wood start a new hunger strike to express their anger at being victims of arbitrary removal targets, indefinite detention including detention of vulnerable people and violations of other human rights. (Detained Voices, 2 May 2018)

2 May: The Public Accounts Committee finds that there is no way of knowing whether the government’s policy on modern slavery has been successful, as there is no data nor the necessary systems to assess the impact of the policies. Download the report here. (Guardian, 2 May 2018)

Policing and criminal justiceAdrian McDonald 2

18 April: Two police officers involved in the death of Adrian McDonald, 34, who died after being tasered and bitten by a police dog in the back of a police van in Stoke-on-Trent in December 2012, win an appeal against a misconduct ruling. (Huddersfield Examiner, 18 April 2018)

18 April: Legal professionals hold a vigil outside the Ministry of Justice to protest the crisis in the criminal justice system. (LAG, 19 April 2018)

19 April: The family of Yassar Yacub, who was shot dead by police in January 2017 on the M62, plan to hold a vigil on what would have been his 30th birthday on 18 May. An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into his death will not be published until criminal trials connected to the death have been completed. (Huddersfield Examiner, 19 April 2018)

23 April: Campaigners call for changes to a new data protection bill which will allow organisations such as the Home Office to exempt data from release. (Guardian, 23 April 2018)

Stephen_Lawrence23 April: The twenty-fifth anniversary of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence is marked by a memorial service, and the prime minister announces an annual Stephen Lawrence Day. (Guardian, 23 April 2018)

24 April: Bristol police are criticised after they arrest Afzal Shah, a Labour councillor and member of the regional police and crime panel, who went to his local police station to report a crime. Police say they were searching for a suspect who ‘looked like him’. (Guardian, 24 April 2018)

25 April: The Guardian reports on two brothers who have complained of racial profiling to the IOPC after they were stopped and searched when they fist-bumped in Deptford. (Guardian, 25 April 2018)

27 April: Ken Hinds, a leading police adviser on stop and search, accuses the police of malicious prosecution when he is charged with assaulting a police officer after questioning the searching of a young black man in north London. (Guardian, 27 April 2018)

27 April: Lynette Wallace, who won damages from Nottinghamshire police after being held in a cell for eleven hours handcuffed and stripped to the waist when she was 30 weeks pregnant in 2011, criticises the IOPC’s apology to two of the police officers involved for the ‘unacceptable’ handling of their disciplinary case, which was dropped in May 2017 because of delays. (BBC News, 27 April 2018)

27 April: UN human rights experts raise concerns about the disproportionate number of black deaths in custody as a result of excessive force, which ‘reinforce the experience of structural racism’. (Independent, 27 April 2018)

29 April: The family of Sheku Bayoh, who died after being restrained by Kirkcaldy police in May 2015, launch a civil action against Police Scotland for unlawful killing. (Daily Record, 29 April 2018)

The family of Sheku Bayoh

The family of Sheku Bayoh

stilldyingontheinside_inquest2 May: INQUEST publishes, Still Dying on the Inside: examining deaths in women’s prisons, download the report here.

Anti fascism and the far Right

23 April: The trial of sixty-nine Golden Dawn members hears evidence revealing extensive ties and coordination between the far-right party and the Greek Hellenic Police, including counter-terrorism and riot control units. (Al Jazeera, 24 April 2018)

26 April: Five men appear at Birmingham crown court and deny charges of inciting racial hatred for allegedly putting up racist stickers of the banned National Action around Aston University in July 2016, when they are said to have posed for a photo making Nazi salutes. (BBC News, 26 April 2018)

28 April: Around forty people take part in a ‘Gays Against Sharia’ march in the Temple Meads area of Bristol. (Bristol Post, 28 April 2018)

Education 

24 April: Two Sheffield universities are investigating four allegations of racism, including an allegation that a banana was thrown at a black student watching an ice hockey match and three incidents which took place in Sheffield Hallam University’s library. (Guardian, 24 April 2018)

24 April: Ucas, the clearing house for university applications, begins an inquiry after Freedom of Information requests reveal that its process for investigating fraud is far more likely to demand proof of claims from black applicants than white ones. (Guardian, 24 April 2018)

27 April: A Sheffield University student is ordered to carry out ten hours of voluntary work and write two letters of apology for throwing a banana at a black student watching an ice hockey game. The university finds that there was no racist intention behind the incident. (The Tab, 27 April 2018)

1 May: Exeter University expels and suspends a number of students following an investigation into racially offensive messages posted by members of the university’s Bracton Law Society. (Guardian, 2 May 2018)

Discrimination

27 April: The High Court orders north London coroner Mary Hassell to change her policy on funerals, after she refused to fast-track inquests for those needing speedy burial to comply with religious beliefs, in a ‘first come first served’ policy which disproportionately affected Jewish and Muslim families. (BBC News, 27 April 2018)

Health

27 April: NHS Employers say that since December 2017, 400 visas for doctors have been refused, despite a staffing crisis in hospitals, because the government refuses to waive the Home Office cap on the entry of skilled migrants. (Guardian, 27 April 2018)

1 May: The Department of Health and Social Care publishes, Independent review of the Mental Health Act: interim report, download it here.

Housing

19 April: Campaigners claim that Freedom of Information requests made of Haringey Council reveal a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on racism and housing; the revelations come after the council was forced to drop a £2 billion regeneration scheme which, they allege, failed to cater for BAME households in the area. (24Housing, 19 April 2018)

25 April: After the owner of North Ferriby United FC condemns as racist the local parish council’s planting of concrete bollards at the entrance to the ground to block access to Travellers, who he had suggested could use the site on non-match days, the council removes the bollards but installs lockable gates. (Hull Daily Mail, 25 April 2018)

Media and culture

16 April: Far-right Freedom party politician Norbert Steger, who sits on the oversight board of Austria’s public broadcaster (ORF), calls for the dismissal of one-third of its foreign correspondents on the grounds of ‘biased’ coverage of the Hungarian general election. (Deutsche Welle, 16 April 2018)

18 April: Moazzam Begg, who was detained at Guantanamo for three years, is invited to take part in the TV show Celebrity Big Brother and declines. (Asian Image, 19 April 2018)

18 April: New research finds that women, working-class and BAME workers are significantly underrepresented across the cultural and creative sector. (A-N The Artists Information Co, 18 April 2018)

24 April: Appearing before a Home Affairs Committee inquiry into ‘Hate crime and its violent consequences’, Gary Jones, the new editor of the Daily Express, says that front pages in the paper have been ‘downright offensive’ and contributed to an ‘Islamophobic sentiment’ in the media. (Guardian, 25 April 2018)

25 April: The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) upholds a complaint against the Times over its coverage of the placing of a young girl with Muslim foster parents in Tower Hamlets, ruling that the paper distorted the issue. Read the ruling here. (Guardian, 25 April 2018)

1 May: Father Ted writer Graham Linehan is critical of Mark Meechan, who was recently convicted for publishing a video of a dog making Nazi salutes, and has complained to gofundme.com about Meechan’s appeal to raise £100,000 to pay for his High Court appeal against his conviction. (Evening Times, 1 May 2018)

Sport

20 April: Cambridge man Paul Tobin, 53, a Chelsea supporter, is given a three-year football banning order after racially abusing a steward at a match against Leicester City in March. (Leicester Mercury, 26 April 2018)

28 April: Brighton FC asks police to investigate whether monkey chants were directed at its player Gaetan Bong during a match against Burnley. (BBC News, 1 May 2018)

Electoral politics

20 April: Darren Harrison, a Conservative candidate in Watford, is suspended and under investigation after allegations that he supports Generation Identity and is linked to Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the ex-leader of the EDL. (Guardian, 20 April 2018)

25 April: Michelle Brown, a Ukip assembly member in Wales, is facing suspension for calling Chuka Umunna MP a ‘f***ing coconut’ in a telephone conversation in May 2016, after the Senedd’s standards committee ruled she had made a ‘severe breach’ of members’ code of conduct. (Daily Post, 25 April 2018)

25 April: Conservative councillor Peter Lucey, the mayor of Wokingham, resigns following an investigation into his social media posts which linked to far-right and Islamophobic websites. (Wokingham Paper, 25 April 2018)

26 April: A prospective Conservative candidate in Cambridge, George Stoakley, 23, is suspended after offensive tweets emerge. (BBC News, 26 April 2018)

27 April: Police appeal for information after Ukip placards in Oakwood are damaged and stolen. In the latest of three attacks, the placards are cut up and placed on a lawn spelling out the word ‘racist’. (Derby Telegraph, 27 April 2018)

30 April: Karen Sunderland, a Conservative candidate in Crofton Park, is suspended for posting offensive tweets, including one which compared Islam to Nazism. (This is Local London, 30 April 2018)

1 May: Ukip leader Gerard Batten announces his intention to move Ukip further to the Right, and claims that ‘the ideology of Islam is inherently anti-Semitic’. (Guardian, 1 May 2018)

1 May: West Midlands Ukip MEP Bill Etheridge hosts Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of Germany’s far-right Alternatif fur Deutschland, at a meeting in Sedgley. (Halesowen News, 30 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

17 April: A 31-year-old man is racially abused, has a slingshot aimed at him and is chased by two white men who took exception when his car broke down and held them up in Maidenhead. (Maidenhead Advertiser, 22 April 2018)

19 April: British Transport Police appeal for information after a Blackburn train station worker was racially abused and punched several times. (Lancashire Telegraph, 19 April 2018)

24 April: Avon and Somerset Police appeal for information on two men who racially abused and punched a man unconscious when he intervened in an argument in Clevedon. (Somerset Live, 24 April 2018)

1 May: Cleveland Police appeal for information after a black man in his 40s suffers facial injuries after being racially abused and attacked by a man and woman at a shopping centre in Hemlington, Middlesbrough. (Gazette Live, 1 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

21 April: Empty properties in the Donegal Pass area of south Belfast are daubed with graffiti which reads ‘locals only’. (Irish News, 21 April 2018)

24 April: Racist graffiti with the letters ‘KKK’ appears on a door in the Ravenhill area of south Belfast. (Belfast Telegraph, 24 April 2018)

26 April: Racist graffiti reading ‘refugees out’ is daubed on a house in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. (Belfast Live, 26 April 2018)

1 May: Racist graffiti is daubed on the entrance of two parks and a local property in Small Heath, Birmingham. (Birmingham Mail, 1 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on religious institutions

28 April: Bacon is left on the door and doorstep of Dunfermline Central Mosque in Scotland. (The Courier, 1 May 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

20 April: Stonemason Gordon Newton, 70, is abused as he makes repairs on the memorial for Stephen Lawrence at the spot where he died in Eltham. (Kent Online, 23 April 2018)

21 April: Racist language is used at a protest against a new mosque, which is later granted planning permission, in Tilehurst, Reading. (Reading Chronicle, 23 April 2018)

26 April: The Independent reports on Vie Lusandu and her 11-year-old son, who were racially abused on a train from Leeds to Bingley by a group of four white men, one of whom grabbed Lusandu’s head. She is critical of bystanders who failed to step in and of police for failing to take statements. (Independent, 26 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: charges

25 April: Joe Tivnan, 18, and Lauren Leigh, 18, appear at Nottingham magistrates’ court charged with racially or religiously aggravated harassment in connection with a widely-circulated video of a Nottingham Trent University student being racially abused in her student halls of residence. (Nottingham Post, 25 April 2018)

30 April: Christopher Jones, 49, is charged with possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and racially aggravated public disorder for allegedly threatening two boys, aged 10 and 16, as they played cricket at their Stockton home. (Gazette Live, 30 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

17 April: Chelsea Russell, 19, from Croxteth, is found guilty of sending an offensive message after posting rap lyrics by Snap Dogg on her Instagram page to pay tribute to the death of a teenage friend. She is sentenced to an eight-week curfew and ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge. (Liverpool Echo, 17 April 2018)

19 April: Lee Machin, 42, admits racially aggravated behaviour towards two brothers at the Foulis takeaway in Tweedmouth. He is ordered to pay a fine, costs and compensation. (Berwick Advertiser, 20 April 2018)

20 April: Nicole Ransome, 54, admits using racially aggravated threatening or abusive words or behaviour after telling a Turkish man in Bristol to ‘F**k off to where you came from – go back to your own country. We are sick of people like you’. She is given a twelve month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge. (Gloucestershire Live, 20 April 2018)

20 April: Justin Higgins, 41, pleads guilty to racially aggravated intentional harassment of a Tewkesbury dentist who refused to remove a tooth while Higgins was drunk. He is ordered to a pay a £120 fine, compensation and costs. (Gloucestershire Live, 20 April 2018)

20 April: Mark Meechan, 30, is fined £800 for posting a video of a dog giving Nazi salutes, which was found to be ‘grossly offensive’, ‘anti-Semitic and racist in nature’ and aggravated by religious prejudice. (Guardian, 23 April 2018)

23 April: Chelsea Wany, 26, is jailed for sixteen weeks after being found guilty of racially aggravated public disorder for racially abusing a man in Huddersfield town centre. (Huddersfield Examiner, 23 April 2018)

25 April: Guy Bentley, 48, is sentenced to a twelve month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £860 compensation, after pleading guilty to racially-aggravated common assault and criminal damage for racially abusing a taxi driver and throwing stones at his car. (This is Wiltshire, 26 April 2018)

26 April: Kiran McInally, 24, is jailed for nineteen months and given a six-month supervised release order for racially abusing and attacking three Clydebank shop workers with a shovel. (Clydebank Post, 26 April 2018)

26 April: Carlisle man John Heffernan, 34, pleads guilty to racial and religious aggravated assault and is sentenced to seven weeks in prison and ordered to pay £700 compensation, for attacking a man on a train between Oxenholme and Lancaster and racially abusing two women as he was arrested. (British Transport Police, 26 April 2018)

26 April: Michael Corbett, 19, admits racially aggravated assault and assault and is sentenced to ten weeks in a young offenders institution for racially abusing and spitting at the manager of a Poundland store in Canterbury. (Kent Live, 26 April 2018)

27 April: Kevin Brophy, 52, pleads guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence after racially abusing an ex-footballer on a Liverpool bus, in an attack that was filmed and widely shared online. He is given an eight-week sentence suspended for twelve months, a twenty day rehabilitation order, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge, compensation and costs. (Liverpool Echo, 27 April 2018)

30 April: Jason Wakefield-Jones, 50, pleads guilty to displaying a golliwog in a noose with intent to cause racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress. He is ordered to pay a victim surcharge, costs and fines. (Daily Post, 30 April 2018)

1 May: Kellie Cooke, 33, pleads guilty to racially aggravated assault and a racially aggravated public order offence, for knocking out a 34-year-old mother of four in a McDonald’s in Kensington, Liverpool. Cooke mocked her victim’s accent, told her ‘go back to your own country, you shouldn’t wear that scarf in this country’ and attempted to rip off her headscarf. (Liverpool Echo, 1 May 2018)

Miscellaneous

20 April: George Soros’ Open Society Foundations reveals that it will close or drastically reduce operations in Budapest and relocate to Berlin, in advance of the government’s planned new law targeting NGOs that receive foreign funding. (Guardian, 20 April 2018)

Recruitment

The Autograph gallery is looking for a full-time Archive Manager to catalogue and care for a unique photographic collection. View details here. The deadline for applications is 4 May 2018 by 5pm.

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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