Calendar of racism and resistance (23 March – 5 April 2018)

April 5, 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

22 March: The captain and head of mission of Proactiva Open Arms, an NGO rescue ship working in the Mediterranean, are arrested in Sicily for refusing to hand over the 218 people they saved in international waters to the Libyan coastguard for return to Libya. (Guardian, 24 March 2018)

G4S_AGM3edit22 March: The Independent reports that G4S, which subcontracts to Jomast the housing of asylum seekers in Newcastle, is allegedly forcing them to share rooms, despite this being against policy. (Independent, 22 March 2018)

23 March: The Home Office publishes updated guidance: Grenfell Tower: handling relatives’ immigration cases, view and download it here.

22 March: As Rainbow4Africa reports, Destiny, a 31-year-old Nigerian woman suffering from lymphoma, dies in childbirth in a Turin hospital six weeks after being turned back by the French military at the Bardonecchia border crossing in the mountains as she tried to reach her sister in France. Her son, weighing just 700 grams, survives. (Infoglitz.com, 23 March 2018)

24 March: A new project is launched providing access to gardening for the women detained at Yarl’s’ Wood, with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing. (BBC News, 24 March 2018)

26 March: The Home Office publishes updated guidance: Refugees: guidance about DWP services, view it here.

27 March: Answers to a parliamentary question reveal that people have to wait longer for immigration appeals to be processed, leaving vulnerable people and families facing uncertainty which can have a negative impact on their health. (Independent, 27 March 2018)

28 March: The Migration Advisory Committee publishes a report: EEA workers in the UK labour market: Interim Update, download the report here.

28 March: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) finds that the Home Office is failing to comply with its own guidelines on the treatment of refugee children, in his inspection report on the Best Interests of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. (Free Movement, 29 March 2018)

28 March: The ICIBI reports that the system of exit checks is ‘shambolic’ and unreliable, in his report Exit checks. (Guardian, 29 March 2018)

28 March: The ICIBI publishes reports on: Victims of Modern Slavery and Stansted Airport.

28 March: The ICIBI reports that the Home Office has failed to measure effectively the usefulness of its Right to Rent scheme. (National Landlords Association, 28 March 2018)

28 March: Activists from solidarity group Briser Les Frontieres occupy part of a mountain church in Claviere, the last Italian town before the French border with Montgenevre, in order to offer hospitality to transiting refugees and displaced people. (InfoMigrants, 28 March 2018)

28 March: UK Visas and Immigration and Immigration Enforcement publish statutory guidance, Immigration Act 2016: Guidance on adults at risk in immigration detention, download it here.

28 March: A recent ICIBI report reveals that around 40 per cent of councils have not signed up to a voluntary scheme to take in child refugees, which was set up to ease the pressure on councils such as Kent and Hillingdon. (Children and Young People Now, 28 March 2018)

30 March: 63-year-old Antiguan Elwaldo Romeo, who has lived in the UK for 59 years, reports that he has been told to leave as he has no right to be here. (Guardian, 30 March 2018)

2 April: The Guardian reveals that the Home Office has been sending ‘nudge’ letters to asylum seekers, encouraging them to go home before their asylum claims have been decided. (Guardian, 2 April 2018)

3 April: Human rights groups condemn Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu’s decision to renege on a UN-brokered deal whereby African refugees and displaced people would have been relocated to European countries, and others allowed to stay in Israel, instead of being jailed or deported, after pressure from the political right. (Reuters, 3 April 2018)

4 April: The Guardian reports on disabled British-born Paul Tate, 53, refused bail for ‘doing nothing to prove he is British’ after four months’ detention at Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire pending deportation for a criminal offence.(Guardian, 4 April 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

Witness appeal from Twitter

Witness appeal from Twitter

28 March: The inquest into the death of Kevin Clarke, 35, a football coach who died on 9 March after being restrained by Lewisham police, commences and is adjourned pending an IOPC investigation and toxicology tests. (News Shopper, 29 March 2018)

28 March: The independent reviewer of counter-terrorism says that although the police acted reasonably in arresting 12 innocent people after the Westminster terrorist attack, they should review when it is right to interrogate suspects on their religious views. (Guardian, 29 March 2018)

3 April: Zaheer Ahmed, an ex-police officer who served with North Yorkshire Police for twenty-three years, begins an employment tribunal against the force, alleging that racial discrimination caused him to miss out on promotions. (York Press, 4 April 2018)

Anti fascism and the far right

19 March: The Daily Record reports claims from Hope not Hate that Jacob Bewick of Generation Identity Alba/Scotland is linked to the banned neo-nazi organisation National Action. (Daily Record, 19 March 2018)

22 March: It is revealed that the man who allegedly broke the nose of Britain First leader Paul Golding’ in HMP Elmley is an Iraqi asylum seeker. (Kent Live, 22 March 2018)

22 March: Vigilantes from Greek neo-nazi group Crypteia attack the offices of the Afghan Community in Athens, smashing computers, dousing the office in petrol and setting it ablaze. The attack comes after a string of violent attacks targeting Pakistani labourers and Afghan refugees in Aspropyrgos, Athens and Piraeus, as well as death threats against civil society organisations. (Al Jazeera, 23 March 2018)

24 March: An estimated 5,000 people attend a march organised by the far-right Football Lads Alliance (FLA) against ‘terrorism and extremism’ in Birmingham. (BBC News, 24 March 2018)

25 March: The neo-nazi group System Resistance Network claims responsibility for recent racist graffiti in Cardiff via a post on far-right social media site Gab. (Wales Online, 25 March 2018)

28 March: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League, is permanently banned from Twitter for breaching its ‘hateful conduct’ policy. (Guardian, 28 March 2018)IRR News on Twitter

28 March: Far-right activist Mario Rönsch, wanted since 2016 in Germany on a European extradition warrant, is arrested during a raid in Budapest and held on suspicion of illegally selling guns over the internet and running the website ‘Migrants Deterrent’, which has sold more than €100,000 worth of unlicensed weapons to customers in countries across Europe. (Telegraph, 28 March 2018)

29 March: Steven Bracher, 55, admits three counts of having explosive substances, one of possessing a lock knife and one of possessing amphetamines, after police found three pipe bombs and seventeen improvised explosive devices that he was working on at his home in Bishops Tawton, near Barnstaple. Sentencing is adjourned until 8 June and he is remanded in custody for psychiatric and probation reports. (Devon Live, 29 March 2018)

2 April: The Guardian reports that the Southampton Polish school of the mother tongue, the Juliana Tuwima Polish school in Essex and the Adam Mickiewicz Polish Saturday school in Blackburn may have connections with groups and individuals associated with far-right Polish organisations. (Guardian, 2 April 2018)

3 April: Anti-racist events are held across the UK as a response to letters that were recently circulated which called for a ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ on 3 April. (Guardian, 3 April 2018)

Educationnus-report-muslim-student-experiences

18 March: The National Union of Students reports that one in three Muslim students have experienced abuse or hate crime and live in fear of Islamophobic attacks on campus, in The experience of Muslim students in 2017-18, download it here. (Independent, 21 March 2018)

23 March: The High Court refuses a judicial review of the government decision to obtain nationality and country of birth information on pupils in English schools. The challenge was brought by Against Borders for Children (ABC). (ABC Press release, 25 March 2018)

abc-logo-big23 March: Montpellier University students occupying the amphitheatre are attacked by a masked group with sticks and tasers, among whom are some of their lecturers, minutes after a call from the dean, Philippe Pétel, telling them to evacuate ‘before it gets hot’. Pétel then allegedly protects the assailants from the police by locking them in with him in a faculty building, but later resigns. (Paris Luttes, 23 March 2018; Times Higher Education, 29 March 2018)

27 March: The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes: Freedom of Speech in Universities, download the report here.

28 March: The Bristol Post reports on the suspension of a student at Clifton College last December for force-feeding a Jewish student ham pizza. (Bristol Post, 28 March 2018)

1 April: At its annual meeting, the National Education Union passes a unanimous motion instructing the union’s leadership to ‘robustly challenge’ recent statements by Ofsted head Amanda Spielman, which in pressurising schools to ban the hijab ‘go beyond the remit of Ofsted’. The NEU will issue guidance to schools on the best course of action when developing a uniform policy or dress code. (Guardian, 1 April 2018)

2 April: A group of students at Exeter University call for action against racism on campus and in student societies after revealing routine racist abuse. (Guardian, 2 April 2018)

Employment and labour exploitation

23 March: Vernon Edward, a wheelchair engineer for Hertfordshire County Council, is awarded £11,000 for racial discrimination after his accent was regularly imitated, in an environment where offensive jokes were commonplace. (People Management, 23 March 2018)

24 March: Scotland’s Rural Council finds that recruitment agencies experienced a 15-20 per cent increase in demand for seasonal migrant labour in 2017 but agencies were unable to supply farmers’ needs, with a 10-15 per cent shortfall in workers. (STV, 24 March 2018)

Housing

27 March: Arhag Housing Association is awarded £1 million from the funds raised from the ‘tampon tax’, which will be used with its partners to fund a series of projects for BME women, including education, employment and escape from gender-based violence. (24 Housing, 27 March 2018)

27 March: Samir Chefaj, a French Algerian man, is awarded £2,000 for racial and religious discrimination after being forced to leave a Belfast youth hostel in March 2016. The Youth Hostel Association of Northern Ireland Ltd (YHANI) settled the case without admission of liability. Read more about the case here. (Belfast Telegraph, 27 March 2018)

28 March: The Residential Landlords Association calls for the Right to Rent to be suspended pending a full evaluation of its impact following a critical ICIBI report, saying ’Landlords should not be used as scapegoats for the failures of the border agencies.’ (24Housing, 28 March 2018)

grenfell-united-logo29 March: The government admits that less than a third of those made homeless by the fire have been permanently rehoused, with 100 households still in emergency and temporary accommodation. Grenfell United chair Shahin Sadafi says the ‘shocking’ news means that ‘heartbroken families are being left to suffer’. (Guardian, 29 March 2018)

29 March: Stephen Sheppard is banned for life from Airbnb after advertising his Edinburgh flat with the message: ‘please don’t book if you are Asian’. (Daily Record, 29 March 2018)

5 April: The government announces a review of the laws dealing with unauthorised caravan sites. Gypsy and Traveller groups call for the consultation to deal with the lack of sites for the community. View details about the consultation here. (Guardian, 5 April 2018)

Discrimination

27 March: A Nottingham restaurant apologises to two black female customers after their bill was presented to them in a book which bore a racist word. (Nottingham Post, 27 March 2018)

27 March: Austrian police criticise the ban on full face-veil coverings introduced as part of an ‘integration’ policy aimed at limiting the visibility of orthodox Islam in public, after Profil magazine publishes data showing that the law has been applied mainly to people wearing smog masks, skiing gear and animal costumes. (Guardian, 27 March 2018)

Health

26 March: A Public Health England consultation on ‘The impact of data-sharing arrangements under the memorandum of understanding on the health and healthcare-seeking behaviour of migrants’ has been extended until 5pm on 30 April 2018. View details here.

National security

27 March: Home Office figures reveal that the number of people referred to Prevent in the year to March 2017 because of concerns about right-wing extremism rose by 28 per cent, with 968 individuals referred. This accounts for 16 per cent of all referrals, up from 10 per cent in the previous year. View the statistics on Individuals referred to and supported through the Prevent Programme, April 2016 to March 2017 here. (Guardian, 27 March 2018)

1 April: Human rights groups express alarm at the government’s failure to consult anyone other than security, intelligence and police officials over a new, secret redrafting of guidance on preventing the security services’ involvement with human rights abuses, despite the intelligence services’ commissioner recommending wide consultation. (Guardian, 1 April 2018)

Sport

24 March: The Guardian reports on historic allegations of racism at Chelsea FC. Most recently a man in his 40s has begun legal action against the club; his solicitor says that this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. (Guardian, 24 March 2018)

27 March: Sikh boxer Karam Singh, 20, could become the first boxer to be allowed to fight with facial hair after England Boxing announced that it is to lift its ban. (BBC News, 27 March 2018)

Electoral politics

22 March: In the Dutch local elections, Geert Wilders’ far-Right PVV wins city council seats in each of the 30 municipalities the party contested, with a total of 74 seats. The PVV candidate in the Hague, Henk Bres, sacked as a columnist earlier this year for racist tweets such as ‘cancer Muslims’, is elected to the city council on preference votes. Black Labour candidate Ugbaad Kilincci, who was forced to stop public campaigning after a string of racist tweets describing her as a ‘black monkey’ and telling her to ‘go back to Africa’, is elected in Emmen on preference votes. (NL Times, 22 March 2018; Dutch News, 23 March 2018)

24 March: Havering Conservatives are accused of ‘dog whistle’ racism after a local election leaflet suggests that under the influence of London mayor Sadiq Khan, ‘traditional parts of Essex’ would increasingly resemble ‘boroughs like ‘Hackney, Newham, Camden and Barking’, with the union flag removed from public buildings. Boris Johnson is criticised for attending the launch of the campaign in December. (Guardian, 24, 28 March 2018)

26 March: Councillor Lynne Sterry is found to have breached the Forest of Dean District Council’s code of conduct after sharing a Facebook post to ‘Bring back the Golliwog’. She has since apologised ‘unreservedly’ and has stood down from Cinderford Town Council. (BBC News, 26 March 2018)

26 March: Following revelations about Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent support in 2012 for an anti-semitic mural (which he admitted he had not looked at closely), and several apologies from him which were deemed inadequate, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council call a protest outside Parliament, attended by several hundred campaigners and a number of Labour MPs and peers. Jewish Voice for Labour holds a counter-demonstration, and the Jewish Socialists’ Group describes the row as a diversionary attack ahead of the May local elections. (Guardian, 26, 27 March 2018; Jewish Socialists’ Group, 26 March 2018; Jewish Voice for Labour, 30 March 2018)

28 March: As Corbyn condemns social media vilification and abuse of MPs who attended Monday’s protest in a Jewish News interview, Christine Shawcroft resigns as head of Labour’s disputes panel for supporting Alan Bull, a Peterborough Labour council candidate who was suspended for alleged anti-semitic social media posts, of which Shawcroft says she was ignorant. (Guardian, 28 March 2018)

29 March: The all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims criticises Leave.EU for a tweet implying that Labour could not be bothered to sort out its anti-semitism issue because it was ‘so reliant’ on Muslim votes. (Guardian, 29 March 2018)

29 March: Aygül Kilic, a Freedom Democrat Party local candidate in Neumünster, Germany is subjected to a right-wing online hate campaign after she appears in an election poster wearing a hijab. (Deutsche Welle, 29 March 2018)

3 April: As Corbyn is criticised for spending Passover with left-wing Jewish group Jewdas, forty academics sign an open letter condemning the media for its unbalanced coverage of the row. Momentum has issued a statement urging members and supporters to recognise and combat unconscious anti-Jewish bias. (Guardian, 2, 3 April 2018)

4 April: Mike Payne, a Conservative councillor in Calderdale, is suspended and under investigation after sharing an article calling Muslims ‘parasites’ on Facebook and Twitter. (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 4 April 2018)

Miscellaneous

23 March: Over 100 MPs call for the prime minister to award a posthumous military cross to Walter Tull, a professional footballer who was the first black officer to serve in the British Army in the first world war. (Guardian, 23 March 2018) 

Violence and harassment: attacks on people 

25 March: Merseyside police launch an investigation after a man racially abused a shopkeeper and sprayed cleaning liquid into his face at MP Food and Wines in Bella Vale, Merseyside. (Liverpool Echo, 25 March 2018)

25 March: A Plymouth taxi driver is racially abused throughout a journey by a man who then attempts to attack him. (Plymouth Herald, 27 March 2018)

27 March: Hull police appeal for witnesses to an attack on a man who was racially abused and assaulted as he walked down a street, by two men who got out of a work van. (Hull Daily Mail, 27 March 2018)

28 March: A woman and her partner are racially abused in their front garden in Darenth, Kent and threatened with a BB gun. (News Shopper, 29 March 2018)

28 March: Silent marches take place in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg after Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, died after being stabbed in her home in a suspected anti-semitic attack. (Guardian, 28 March 2018)

28 March: Sheffield University launches an investigation after a black student has a rotten banana thrown at him during an ice hockey match. (The Tab, 1 April 2018)

29 March: A taxi driver is racially abused, attacked and robbed after picking up a fare in Castleford. (Yorkshire Post, 29 March 2018)

1 April: Police appeal for information on what appears to be a racially motivated attack on a 28-year-old man outside a bookmaker’s in Gloucester, which left him with broken teeth and facial injuries. (Gloucestershire Live, 3 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

19 March: The Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark is set on fire with Molotov cocktails. (The Local, 19 March 2018)

3 April: Abdul Matin, 32, an Uber driver, has acid poured over his car while it is parked outside his Bury home. He believes the attack is connected to the leaflets calling for a ‘Punish a Muslim Day’. (Bury Times, 5 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

28 March: SNP MSP James Dornan asks Police Scotland to investigate a flyer calling for a ‘Smash a Fenian Day’ on 1 May, with extra ‘points’ for ‘Triple Bill’ acts of violence on ‘a Fenian, Scottish Nationalists and a Muslim’. (Herald, 28 March 2018)

30 March: Former footballer Pavel Vieira is racially abused by an older white man on a bus in Liverpool. A number of passengers intervene to stop the abuse, which is filmed by Viera. Kevin Brophy, 51, is later charged and will appear in court on 27 April. (Liverpool Echo, 31 March, 5 April 2018)

2 April: Racist leaflets warning against the ‘Islamification’ of Northern Ireland are delivered to homes in south and east Belfast, by the group Generation Sparta. (Belfast Telegraph, 5 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

21 March: Joel Justice, 25, is found guilty of racially abusing Dundee takeaway staff for the second time in 18 months in November 2017. The previous incident was in April 2016. (Courier, 21 March 2018)

23 March: Mark Meechan, convicted under the Communications Act for posting an ’anti-semitic and racist in nature’ video of his dog doing Nazi salutes, says he is considering an appeal. (Herald, 23 March 2018)

27 March: Paul Moore, 21, is jailed for 20 years for attempted murder, dangerous driving and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, after running over a Muslim woman and 12-year-old girl in Leicester on 20 September 2017. (Leicester Mercury, 27 March 2018)

27 March: Peter John Tovey, 35, admits publishing material on Facebook which was threatening, abusive or insulting, and intending to stir up racial and religious hatred, for posts following the London Bridge attack in which he called for women and children to be killed. He is sentenced to 15 months in prison. (Somerset Live, 27 March 2018)

29 March: James Platt, 33, admits using racially-aggravated language, common assault and failing to stop after a car accident in Cheshire, during which he racially abused another motorist. He is ordered to pay £100 compensation, carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 costs and is given five points on his licence. (Manchester Evening News, 29 March 2018)

30 March: Kiran McInally, 23, pleads guilty to attacking and racially abusing three shop workers in Whitecrook, attacking one with a sellotape holder and another with a shovel. Sentencing is adjourned pending reports for McInally, who is serving a sentence in Greenock prison. (Clydebank Post, 1 April 2018)

1 April: Kieran McGinley, 26, is jailed for forty-five months for racially abusing and attacking two Clydebank shopkeepers with a screwdriver. (Clydebank Post, 1 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: research and statistics

23 March: The NSPCC records a 31 percent increase in incidents of racial, religious and faith-based abuse against children in Staffordshire, West Midlands, with 94 incidents in 2015/16 rising to 123 incidents in 2016/17. (Staffs Live, 23 March 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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