Calendar of racism and resistance (24 April – 7 May 2015)

May 7, 2015 — News

Written by IRR News Team

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

Policing and criminal justice

27 April: A Labour government would look again at the law of Joint Enterprise, Ed Miliband writes in a letter to a constituent. (The Justice Gap, 27 April 2015)

2 May: More than 3,000 police officers are being investigated for alleged assault – with black and Asian people significantly more likely than white people to complain of police brutality, according to an Independent investigation. (Independent2 May 2015)

3 May: Hundreds of people march through Brixton, south London, to protest at police brutality and racism, and to show solidarity with the people of Baltimore, US. (Brixton Buzz, 3 May 2015) 

4 May: Restraint was a ‘key’ factor in Kingsley Burrell’s death in 2011, a pathologist tells the jury at his inquest. Mr Burrell died following contact with four police officers and six NHS staff in Birmingham. (Voice5 May 2015)

Sheku Bayoh5 May: Friends of Sheku Bayoh, who died in Scotland on 3 May hours after being arrested, demand answers over how police handled the incident. (Daily Record5 May 2015)

Asylum and Immigration

22 April: According to a specialist barrister, the work done by migrants in UK detention centres is open to challenge in the courts, on the basis that it is a hybrid of prison labour and sub-zero hours exploitation. (Corporate Watch, 22 April 2015)

23 April: Fourteen migrants, mostly from Somalia and Afghanistan, die after they are hit by a train near Veles in Macedonia. Migrants use the railway to navigate through the country at night, reportedly the route through the Balkans now being considered safer than the voyage across the Mediterranean. (Novinite.com, 24 April 2015)

24 April: UN Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, who likened the comments made in Katie Hopkins’s column for the Sun to those made by the Nazis and Rwandan press before the 1994 genocide, calls on European countries to take a firmer line on racism and xenophobia in the press. (BBC News, 24 April 2015)

25 April: ‘Migrant lives matter’ protests are held on Ramsgate and Whitstable beaches and the London office of the EU, against its response to mass drownings in the Mediterranean. (Stand up to Racism and Fascism)

yarlswood

25 April: A guard is suspended following an alleged ‘revenge’ assault on two women inside Yarl’s Wood, in what is the latest in a series of incidents at the Bedfordshire immigration removal centre. (Guardian25 April 2015)

26 April: Detainees at Dungavel immigration removal centre are being paid just £1 an hour to do back-breaking work, it is revealed. A total of 52,858 hours were worked between October 2012 and October 2013,  at a cost of £52,858 to private firm GEO rather than around £280,000  had it been paying the minimum wage of £6.50 an hour to over-21s. (Daily Record26 April 2015)

27 April: A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Home Office reveals that while there were 39 incidents of detainees self-harming at Brook House immigration removal centre in 2010, there were 64 such incidents in 2014. (Crawley News27 April 2015)

28 April: As an EU Foreign Affairs representative goes to the UN to seek a mandate for military strikes against people-smugglers’ boats (Migrants at Sea, 29 April 2015), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemns the proposal. (Financial Times, 30 April 2015)

30 April: A custody officer at Yarl’s Wood IRC is suspended after leaving a woman with bruising after detainees were forcibly dispersed for attempting to stop a woman’s deportation. (Bedford Today, 30 April 2015)

5 May: A nightclub owner in Bavaria, Germany is condemned by refugee organisations for banning entry to all ‘refugees’. The Bavarian Refugee Council spokesperson, Matthias Weinzierl, said, ‘You can’t recognise [asylum seekers] by their clothes, you can only recognise them by the colour of their skin, and that’s simple racism.’ (The Local, 5 May 2015)

7 May: Two Syrian asylum seekers who were jailed for arriving in the UK without passports in 2013, successfully appeal against their convictions after it emerged they were wrongly advised to plead guilty. (BBC News, 7 May 2015)

Sport

Herman Kick it Out27 April: Speaking at the Raise Your Game conference in LondonKick it Out chair Lord Ouseley challenges football clubs to change their recruiting practices to ensure they give  equal opportunities to people from all communities. (Sky Sports, 28 April 2015)

6 May: In the 1990s, the Football Association tried to impose an unofficial quota on the number of black footballers an England manager could play, according to a new book about racism within the sport. (Guardian, 6 May 2015)

Party politics

24 April: Ukip parliamentary candidate Kim Rose says he does not regret quoting from Hitler’s Mein Kampf at a hustings in Southampton. (BBC News, 24 April 2015)

25 April: Ed Miliband announces that Islamophobia and anti-Semitism would become ‘aggravated crimes’ under a Labour government. (Hertfordshire Mercury25 April 2015)

26 April: BNP election candidate Reverend Robert West faces a hearing over comments he reportedly made about Islam while teaching in a Grantham school. (Lincolnshire Echo26 April 2015) 

27 April: Gulzabeen Afsar, a Conservative local election candidate who said she could never support ‘the Jew’ Ed Miliband, is suspended. (BBC News, 27 April 2015)

29 April: European parliamentarians urge the European Commission to investigate a public consultation on migration launched by Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, which equates migrants with terrorists and recommends internment camps and forced work for immigrants. Orbán has also called for the return of the death penalty, abolished in Hungary in 1989. (Budapest Today, 29 April 2015)

5 May: Ukip suspends election candidate Robert Blay for ‘abhorrent’ abuse about an Asian rival – including racist abuse and threatening to ‘personally put a bullet in him’ should he ever become prime minister. (Huffington Post, 5 May 2015)

Violence and harassment

24 April: Scores of people attend an anti-racism rally in Derry to protest against an attack on an Egyptian man in the city centre. (Derry Journal24 April 2015)

27 April: Police in Hounslow begin a survey on hate crime after figures show there were 367 racist and religious hate crimes recorded across the borough during the last year, with 29 cases of Islamophobia, 28 of homophobia and two anti-Semitic crimes. (Get West London, 27 April 2015)

27 April: A 22-year-old man in Stoke is given a nineteen-month prison sentence for threatening to murder a taxi driver with a five-inch knife. During the incident, in 2013, the man racially abused the driver, took his car keys and demanded his takings. (Stoke Sentinel27 April 2015) 

28 April: The president of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ion Diaconu, condemns the ‘trivialisation of hate speech’ in France and the exclusion of the Roma minority from mainstream French society, stating that the Roma face violence from indsalon arson attackividuals and the police. (Liberation, 28 April 2015)

4 May: Police in Northern Ireland launch a review into how they tackle hate crimes after a surge in reported attacks on BAME communities, with figures indicating there are more than two incidents every day. The vast majority of racially-motivated hate crimes over the past twelve months took place in Belfast. (Belfast Live, 5 May 2015)

6 May: Four people are arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning to attack mosques and hotels accommodating asylum seekers. (Independent, 6 May 2015)

Extreme-right politics

29 April: War veterans announce they are planning to hold a counter demonstration in Dudley  in May on the day that the  far-right Britain First comes to protest over plans to build a mosque. (Dudley Express & Star29 April 2015

29 April: Ukip candidate Anne Marie Waters is to launch the group Victims of Islamic Cultural Extremism when she interviews ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson on 11 May. (Braintree & Witham Times29 April 2015)

1 May: The mayor of Jönköping, a small town in southern Sweden, managed to thwart the far-right Party of the Swedes’ plans for its annual May Day march (renowned for violence) by booking out all public spaces a year in advance, stating, ‘It’s time to take back this town and show the values that we are proud of.’ (The Local, 2 May 2015)

5 May: The prosecutor of Béziers, a town in southern France, opens an investigation after discovering that the far-right mayor closely affiliated with the Front National, Robert Ménard, keeps a file on students in the municipality thought to be Muslim. (Le Monde, 5 May 2015)

7 May: The trial of dozens of members of far-right Golden Dawn in Greece is adjourned until 12 May after resuming briefly in the country’s largest prison. (Guardian, 7 May 2015)

Housing

Reclaim Brixton - rally and celebration in Windrush Square, Brixton25 April: Thousands protest in Brixton against a lack of affordable homes, closures of long-established local businesses, police racism and gentrification. (Guardian26 April 2015)

Education

25 April: In France, public outcry follows the news that a 15-year-old Muslim girl was banned from class for wearing a long black skirt, deemed by the headmaster of a school in the north-eastern town of Charleville-Mezieres a conspicuous sign of religious affiliation. (Guardian, 28 April 2015) 

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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