Calendar of racism and resistance (22 July – 4 August 2016)

August 4, 2016 — News

Written by IRR News Team

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

Violence & harassment (including post-Brexit incidents)

16 July: Residents in Huntingdon stage a ‘march against racism’ after ‘offensive leaflets’ are posted through the doors of Polish families. (ITV News, 16 July 2016)

19 July: A group of teenagers are attacked in Oxfordshire in what police are describing as a racist attack, with one of the victims suffering a broken cheekbone. Four people are later arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault. (BBC News, 26 July 2016) 

20 July: A 14-year-old schoolgirl is racially abused and has a car driven at her as she tries to cross an Essex road. (Essex Chronicle, 30 July 2016)

21 July: In a council meeting in St Albans discussing racist abuse following the EU referendum, a councillor reads out an email from an Asian constituent saying that on the Saturday after the referendum a passenger on a train looked at her and said the result was ‘brilliant. Now all the ******* foreigners can go home’. (Herts Advertiser, 21 July 2016)

22 July: Police are investigating allegations that users of an unofficial British Army internet forum have been taking part in racist discussions, the i reveals. In one post, Gypsies and Travellers are referred to as ‘filthy, thieving, raping, parasitic scum’. (i News, 22 July 2016)

22 July: On the fifth anniversary of the Norwegian massacre carried out by Anders Breivik, 18-year-old German citizen Ali David Sonboly, obsessed with Breivik and other mass killers, shoots dead nine people at a Munich shopping centre. Most of his victims are fellow teenagers, including three children from Turkey, three ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and at least one Greek teenager. (Guardian, 23 July 2016)

24 July: A man ‘of eastern European origin’ is racially abused, punched and kicked, in an ‘unprovoked’ attack by a group of nine people in Hawick, Scotland. (Hawick News, 25 July 2016)

25 July: A poll of 118 GPs around the UK for Network Locum finds that more than half have experienced racism from patients or colleagues since the EU referendum. (i News, 25 July 2016)

25 July: Police appeal for witnesses after rocks were thrown the window of the Yeovil Islamic Centre in Somerset during the evening of 15 July, in an incident that is being treated as racially motivated. (Independent, 25 July 2016)

25 July: Christopher McCann, 45, is jailed for 16 months for assaulting a shopper who tried to calm him down and stop him racially abusing people the day after the referendum. (York Press, 25 July 2016)

26 July: Two teenagers plead guilty to racially and religiously aggravated criminal damage after daubing racist graffiti on Maesydre Football Ground, Welshpool in November 2015. (County Times, 28 July 2016)

26 July: A man is arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault after an incident at Kingston station on 25 July. (Kingston Guardian, 26 July 2016)

26 July: A Burnley FC fan from Accrington is given an indefinite club ban following an incident of racial abuse during a pre-season friendly game, at Bradford FC’s Valley Parade stadium on 23 July. (Accrington Observer, 26 July 2016)

26 July: The chances of police or prosecutors taking action against hate crime offenders, including for racially motivated offences, have plummeted over the last year, new figures by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal. (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 26 July 2016) 

26 July: The home secretary launches a new four-year Hate Crime Action Plan: Action Against Hate: The UK Government’s plan for tackling hate crime, download it here (pdf file, 252 kb)

26 July: Tell MAMA, set up to help victims of Islamophobia, says it has suffered a campaign of abuse that has peaked in the last eight days, but the police’s response has been ‘poor’. (Guardian, 26 July 2016) 

27 July: Speaking to reporters after a 25-year-old man is given community service for racially abusing staff at an Indian restaurant in Dundee in April, the manager of the restaurant says that his staff have been subjected to ‘non-stop’ racist abuse since the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015. (Dundee Evening Telegraph, 27 July 2016)

27 July: On the day after Fr Hamel is murdered by IS-linked terrorists in his church in St-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, a motorist in Barentin, thirty km away, threatens to knife a 70-year-old Senegalese Muslim outside his flat, reverses his car to try to knock him down, then follows him into the lift where he hits him on the head and attempts to strangle him. The victim, who has lived and worked locally for fifty years, suffers head injuries. (Ouest France, 31 July 2015)

27 July: Darlington police appeal for witnesses after a woman was racially abused by a white male outside a shop in Northgate on 16 July. (Northern Echo, 27 July 2016)

27 July: Sussex police release figures showing that between the EU referendum result and 19 July, 187 ‘race-based’ incidents were reported to them in the locality, an increase of about 25 per compared with the same period in 2015. (Sussex Express, 27 July 2016)

27 July: John Nimmo, 28, from South Shields is told he faces prison for sending anti-Semitic death threats to Wavertree MP Luciana Berger as he is remanded in custody for sentencing at Newcastle crown court. (Liverpool Echo, 27 July 2016)

27 July: A Lithuanian man suffers serious injuries after a ‘severe and sustained’ beating in Plymouth by two men who engaged the man in conversation before launching their attack. The unnamed victim suffers serious injuries including three broken ribs, injuries to his head and internal injuries. (Plymouth Herald, 29 July 2016)

28 July: Homes on a south Bristol street where foreign nationals live are targeted with racist graffiti and have bricks thrown through windows. Four attacks took place between 16 June and 27 July. (Bristol Post, 28 July 2016)

28 July: A 25-year-old Liversedge man pleads guilty to hurling racist abuse at his neighbour, damaging his car and trying to run him over in two separate incidents in a long-running dispute. Magistrates adjourn sentencing pending reports. (Examiner, 28 July 2016)

28 July: The owner of a Yorkshire ice-cream parlour, who was subjected to a tirade of racial abuse on 24 July, says he has since been ‘overwhelmed’ by the kind wishes and messages of support from residents. (Harrogate Advertiser, 28 July 2016)

29 July: Two brothers admit racially aggravated offences for an attack at a Gravesend pub in June 2014, and are given suspended prison sentences and four-month curfews. (Kent Online, 29 July 2016)

31 July: People in Knowle West, Bristol, where homes in a local street have been targeted by racists, hold a peace party to show support. (ITV, 31 July 2016)

1 August: An 11-year-old boy is ordered to complete a 12-month referral order with the Youth Offending Team when he admits charges of racial harassment and common assault after targeting his neighbours for years. (Lincolnshire Echo, 1 August 2016)

4 August: The Community Security Trust records that 557 anti-Semitic incidents in the first six months of the year, an increase of 11 per cent on the same period last year. Download the report here (pdf file, 1.8mb) (Guardian, 4 August 2016)

Asylum & migration

20 July: Over a 24-hour period, hundreds of migrants are arrested inside Bulgaria and at the border with Serbia in special police operations that the interior ministry says are designed to ‘send a signal’ that instability in Turkey will not lead to fresh migration pressure on the country. (Balkan Insight, 20 June 2016)

21 July: The High Court rules that the Home Office system for providing bail addresses to high-risk immigration detainees is operating unlawfully, in a test case by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). Detainees have had to wait for up to eighteen months for accommodation, and some have been released on to the streets with no accommodation because of delays. (EIN, 22 July 2016)

22 July: Between 1,200 and 1,400 migrants from Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan are evacuated from a makeshift camp near the Jaures metro station on the outskirts of Paris In the early hours, in the twenty-sixth such eviction in a year. (Les Echos, 22 July 2016)

22 July: HM Inspectorate of Prisons publishes reports on short-term immigration holding facilities at Sheffield (Vulcan House), Salford (Dallas Court) and Liverpool (Capital Building). Download the reports here.

22 July: The Home Office announces the closure of Cedars, the ‘child-friendly’ detention centre in Surrey. Families will now be transferred to other detention centres, including Tinsley House, near Gatwick. (Independent, 22 July 2016)

25 July: A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh orders the home secretary to reconsider granting asylum to an Ahmadiyya Muslim family after finding that their religious beliefs could place them in danger if they are returned home. (Scotsman, 26 July 2016)

25 July: Prime minister Theresa May is criticised for scrapping the post of minister for refugees, whose responsibilities included coordinating the government’s commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanese and Jordanian refugee camps and unaccompanied children from camps in Europe. May says the tasks will be merged into the general Home Office workload. (Guardian, 25 July 2016)

26 July: After a deadly week in Germany, with three violent or terrorist-related acts carried out by Syrians, interior minister Thomas de Maizière says that none of the suspects were among the refugees who came into Germany last summer after Merkel promised to help Syrians in need. But Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer criticises Angela Merkel’s ‘open door policy for refugees’, saying it is ‘finally time to address people’s fears’. (Guardian, 25 and 26 July 2016)

26 July: The House of Lords European Union Committee finds that the UK is systematically failing unaccompanied asylum seeking children dismissing them as “somebody else’s problem’.] Download the report, Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU, here (pdf file, 1.4mb) (Guardian, 26 July 2016)

27 July: The parliamentary Home Affairs Committee publishes: The work of the Immigration Directorates (Q1 2016), download the report here (pdf file, 1.3mb).

27 July: The Home Office confirms that 35 people were arrested in an immigration enforcement operation on 4 July, during which management at Byron Burgers lured in migrant workers under the pretext of holding a training session in London. (Canary, 27 July 2016)

27 July: Greek police raid three squatted buildings in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, which are home to refugees, solidarity groups and social activists, after owners, including the church and the university, obtain eviction orders. The refugees are taken to camps, while over 100 activists are detained. (ThePressProject, 27 July 2016)

29 July: Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau inaugurates a digital ‘shame counter’ next to a popular beach in the city, which tracks the number of refugees and migrants who have died trying to cross the Mediterranean. The counter begins with 3,034 – the number of refugees and migrants who have already died in 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The number represents a 54 per cent increase on the same period in 2015, making this year the deadliest on record. (Guardian, 29 July 2016, Al Jazeera, 30 July 2016)

1 August: A man douses himself in petrol and threatens to set himself alight at a protest at Lunar House immigration offices in Croydon. He suffers minor burns and is arrested on suspicion of ‘making threats to cause criminal damage with intent to endanger life’. (Croydon Advertiser, 1 August 2016)

2 August: An investigation reveals that 18 women and 15 children, all asylum seekers, are living in a single ‘filthy and dangerous’ house in Hounslow provided by the Home Office through its contractors, Clearsprings Ready Homes and Cromwood Housing. (Guardian, 2 August 2016)

2 August: The Court of Appeal allows the Home Office appeal against the Tribunal’s January order that it must bring to the UK unaccompanied minors and vulnerable adults stranded in Calais, with family here, so they can claim asylum. The Court ruled that children must apply in France and go through the normal procedures under the Dublin III regulation except in ‘especially compelling’ cases. (Guardian, 2 August 2016)

2 August: Aid workers in Moria detention camp on Lesbos, Greece, working for Greek charity Euro Relief, are accused of trying to convert Muslim detainees to Christianity. UNHCR, MSF and other groups pulled out of Moria when it changed from reception to detention following the EU-Turkey agreement. (Guardian, 2 August 2016)

2 August: The Independent reveals that draft Home Office guidance will allow ‘disobedient’ asylum seekers to be placed in solitary confinement against medical advice. (Independent, 2 August 2016)

3 August: The Home Affairs Committee finds that the response to the refugee crisis by Europe has been ‘lamentable’. The UK has taken 1,602 people up to March 2016; 610 to Scotland, 171 to Yorkshire and Humberside, and 105 to Coventry. Only four of London’s 32 boroughs have taken in any refugees at all. Download the report here (pdf file, 1.3mb) (Independent, 3 August 2016)

3 August: Information is released under the Freedom of Information act on the number of pregnant women detained in immigration detention centres in the UK; with at least 52 pregnant women locked up over a five-month period. (politics.co.uk, 3 August 2016)

Policing & criminal justice

19 July: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales publishes his Annual Report 2015–16. Download it here (pdf file, 5.8mb)

22 July: The Independent Police Complaints Commission asks Surrey’s police and crime scrutiny panel to investigate claims that the police and crime commissioner for the area, David Munro, acted in a ‘racially motivated manner’ in abolishing the position of adviser on equality and diversity held by former mayor Shiraz Mirza. (This is Local London, 22 July 2016)

25 July: The outgoing chief coroner, Peter Thornton QC, calls for legal aid for families in inquests involving the ‘organs of the state’. (Guardian, 25 July 2016)

26 July: A report released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission reveals that the number of deaths of people during or following police contact has risen 63 per cent in the last five years – with a spike of 37 per cent in the last year alone. Download Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales 2015/16 here (pdf file, 512kb) (Independent, 26 July 2016)

26 July: The public inquiry into the police shooting of Anthony Grainger in Cheshire in 2012 begins at Liverpool crown court. Judge Thomas Teague, the chair, promises that it will be ‘open and fearless’ and will start hearing evidence on 16 January 2017. (The Bolton News, 27 July 2016)

26 July: A catastrophic series of failures contributed to the death of Robert Majchrzak, 30, from smoke inhalation on 6 August 2013 at HMP Wealstun, an inquest jury rules. Majchzak, who set fire to his cell, had mental health problems and learning difficulties, and although he had expressed suicidal thoughts no protective measures were put in place. (Guardian, 26 July 2016)

27 July: A black firefighter who claims he was violently attacked and shot with a taser by police officers in 2011, says that racism is ‘a disease’ within the Met after the case against the officers collapses. (Huffington Post, 27 July 2016) 

28 July: Footage emerges of an arrest on 21 July at London Bridge station where a young black man, IK Aihie, 20, was detained by British Transport police, who placed a spit hood on him. He was later released without charge and says he will complain about the excessive force used. (Guardian, 28 July 2016)

2 August: The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales publishes a report, Camps at Calais and Grand-Synthe (France): policing and access to justice, highlighting allegations of police violence and failure to protect residents in the migrant camps, and a lack of recourse to justice. Download the report here (pdf file, 338kb).

National security

21 July: The Home Office publishes: CONTEST The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism: Annual Report for 2015. Download the report here.

22 July: The Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes a report calling for a review of the Prevent strategy and warning that the government’s proposals for more counter-extremism measures are confusing, vague and run the risk of creating more unfounded suspicions and further alienating Muslim communities. Download the report here (pdf file, 449kb). (Guardian, 22 July 2016)

2 August: Dr Salman Butt, a biochemist at Imperial College named in a government press release as a ‘hate preacher’ who should be barred from university campuses, wins permission for a judicial review of the designation. The challenge also claims that the Prevent policy breaches freedom of speech and other human rights. (Channel 4 News blog, 2 August 2016)

4 August: The Independent reveals that a woman returning from her honeymoon in Turkey on 25 July was detained at Doncaster Airport after cabin crew raised concerns about her reading material – a book on Syrian art and culture. (Independent, 4 August 2016)

Education

25 July: The vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town withdraws an invitation to Flemming Rose, the Danish publisher of the Muhammad cartoons, to give its annual Freedom Lecture. He cites the university’s ‘safe spaces’ policy, and the fact that the talk scheduled for August ‘might retard rather than advance academic freedom on campus’. (Inside Higher Ed, 25 July 2016)

28 July: The Islington Gazette reveals that more primary and secondary school-aged children were excluded from Islington schools for racism than in any other inner London borough. (Islington Gazette, 28 July 2016)

Media

22 July: Fatima Manji, a Channel 4 News reporter, and the programme’s producer make a complaint to the press regulator IPSO over comments made by Sun columnist Kelvin Mackenzie as Manji reported from Nice wearing a hijab. (Guardian, 22 July 2016)

26 July: The Daily Mail newspaper apologises to the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for calling it a ‘pro-terrorist charity’. (Third Sector News, 26 July 2016)

Discrimination

26 July: G4S is awarded the contract to take over the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS), the helpline for those who need advice on equality and human rights (Buzz Feed, 26 July 2016)

2 August: Leicester Civil Rights Movement publishes issue 83 of its newsletter, Insaf, download it here (pdf file, 385kb)

Housing

21 July: Rowheath Pavilion & Pavilion Christian Community allows Travellers to camp on their land in Bournville, Birmingham, and defends its decision as a recognition of basic human rights. (Birmingham Mail, 27 July 2016)

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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