Calendar of racism and resistance (26 January – 8 February 2018)

February 8, 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

outinthecold25 January: The Jesuit Refugee Service publishes a report which finds that refused asylum seekers in London face homelessness and destitution. Download the report, Out in the cold: Homelessness among destitute refugees in London – Refugees reveal the reality of living in destitution, here. (Electronic Immigration Network, 29 January 2018)

25 January: The EU’s Court of Justice rules that tests to determine asylum seekers’ sexual orientation, used by some member states to test the accounts of those claiming to be gay, are illegal. (BBC News, 25 January 2018)

25 January: The European Court of Human Rights rejects a claim that conditions of detention in the Vial camp at Chios were inhuman or degrading. (Statewatch, 25 January 2018)

27 January: The number of EU nationals being detained in immigration removal centres in the UK has risen drastically since the Conservatives came to power. (i news, 27 January 2018)

29 January: Campaigners call for the release of Afghani man Zayed Khan, 26, from Colnbrook detention centre, who has sewed his lips together after claiming unlawful detention. (Independent, 29 January 2018)

29 January: A new centre, run by G4S, housing asylum seekers in Derby, is opened despite huge local opposition to the former University of Derby halls of residence being used. (Derby Telegraph, 29 January 2018)

29 January: A migrant dies in Jabbeke, Belgium whilst trying to escape across a motorway to avoid police checks. Prosecutors request that the police investigate the identity of the man in order to inform his relatives. (Flanders news.be, 30 January 2018) 

29 January: 100 people march in San Ferdinando in south-western Italy to protest the fatal fire that engulfed a tent city housing hundreds of migrants. (The Local, 29 January 2018)icibi-report-cover

30 January: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes three reports: An inspection of the review and removal of immigration, refugee and citizenship “status”: April – August 2017; An inspection of the Home Office’s mechanisms for learning from immigration litigation, April – July 2017; An inspection of the Home Office’s production and use of Country of Origin Information, April – August 2017

30 January: Highly-skilled migrants hold a demonstration at Downing Street to raise awareness of discriminatory, inhumane and hostile Home Office policies. (Guardian, 30 January 2018)

30 January: It is reported that Kent Council faces a £4.6 million shortfall in funding for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. (Gravesend Reporter, 30 January 2018)

30 January: The charity Help Refugees wins the right to challenge Home Office policy on child refugees and the restrictive interpretation of the obligation to take in unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (the Dubs amendment). (Migrants’ Rights Network, 30 January 2018)

30 January: A judge refuses a judicial review by the Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) against a Home Office/NHS Digital data-sharing agreement; the MRN intends to appeal through an oral hearing. (Migrants’ Rights Network, 30 January 2018)MRN logo

30 January: Pink News claims that the Home Office took thirteen months to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act about the number of people claiming asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. (Pink News, 30 January 2018)

safebutnotsettled31 January: New research by the Refugee Council and Oxfam finds that refugees who settle in the UK struggle to integrate because of fears for loved one. Download the report: Safe But Not Settled: The impact of family separation on refugees in the UK here. (Guardian, 31 January 2018)

1 February: Four teenage refugees are in critical condition and twenty-two people are hospitalised after violence breaks out in Calais, following clashes that are believed to have started during food handouts. It is thought that shots were fired by a man believed to be a people smuggler. In response, the French interior minister sends more police to Calais to crack down on criminal gangs. (Independent, 2 February 2018)

1 February: Two Muslim asylum seekers who had been detained at Brook House win a legal challenge against the Home Office, after lawyers argued their human rights had been breached as they were forced to pray by cell toilets and smoking by others in cells made the conditions intolerable. (Guardian, 1 February 2018)

1 February: The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, well-known for its work with refugees and migrants, announces that it is one of fourteen Hungarian civil society organisations taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights against the law requiring organisations receiving foreign funding to register. (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, 1 February 2018) 

2 February: The Court of Appeal rules that the Home Office needs to do more to assist those with mental health problems in immigration detention to ensure they have access to legal support. (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2 February 2018)

2 February: The Italian government’s plan, approved by parliament, to increase troop levels in Tunisia, Libya and the Niger to combat terrorism and human trafficking, is criticised by Middle Eastern and North African analysts who believe the true motive is to prevent refugees and migrants from setting sail for Italy. (Al-Monitor, 2 February 2018)

3 February: Whistleblowing staff at Morton Hall detention centre claim their warning that the mental health of detainees was at risk, a year before a death at the centre, ‘fell on deaf ears’. (Mirror, 3 February 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

25 January: Following a debate on joint enterprise, a cross-party motion calls on the government to conduct an urgent review of the legal doctrine. (Guardian, 25 January 2018)jengba-logo

27 January: The family of Rashan Charles, who died after being restrained on the floor of a shop in Dalston in 2017, express their dismay that the Met police have employed John Beggs QC as legal counsel for the inquest into Charles’ death, as he has previously represented police officers involved in Hillsborough at the inquest. (Guardian, 27 January 2018)

28 January: 400 people take to the streets in Paris to protest the death of 26-year-old Gaye Camara, who was shot in the head by police on 17 January in Epinay-sur-Seine. Investigations have been opened into the conduct of police and why they shot at the car Camara was driving. (Le Parisien, 28 January 2018)

30 January: One woman dies and another is seriously injured after a fire burns down a shantytown for migrant agricultural workers near Rosarno, Calabria, Italy, leaving all its residents homeless in winter. (InfoMigrants, 30 January 2018)

31 January: Frontex announces that as of 1 February, it is replacing Operation Triton with Operation Themis in the Central Mediterranean Sea, with an enhanced law enforcement mandate. Frontex will continue its presence in the Italian ‘hotspots’, assisting the national authorities in registering and fingerprinting migrants. (Frontex press release, 31 January 2017)

4 February: The family of Yasser Yacub, who was shot dead by police officers in Huddersfield, fear that there could be further delays to the publication of the investigation into his death as three people are currently awaiting trial in connection with the death. (Huddersfield Examiner, 4 February 2018)

6 February: A pre-inquest hearing into the death of black footballer Dalian Atkinson, who died after being restrained and tasered in August 2016, is delayed until June. (Ipswich Star, 6 February 2018)

Anti fascism and the far Right

26 January: Jayda Fransen appears in Belfast magistrates charged with two hate charges related to a speech made at a rally in August; the trial will commence on 6 April. (Belfast Telegraph, 26 January 2018)

26 January: In response to Golden Dawn’s announcement that it will hold a meeting locally to present its ‘solution’ to the refugee crisis, the Greek Chios municipal council passes a resolution declaring the neo-Nazis ‘unwelcome’. The resolution says, ‘Chios is an island that has fought for national resistance and for democracy, and it sternly and categorically disapproves of the presence of Nazi descendants’. (Ekathemerini, 26 January 2018)

26 January: At least 8,000 people demonstrate in Vienna against the annual Academics Ball at the Hofburg Palace attended by far-right student fraternities as well as the Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. (BBC News, 26 January 2018)

26 January: In response to a Left party parliamentary question on the extent of neo-Nazi real estate in Germany, the interior ministry has revealed that at least 136 holdings across Germany are linked to far-right extremist organisations. (Deutsche Welle, 26 January 2018)

29 January: Far-right groups are under investigation after allegedly breaching charity rules in their homeless outreach work in cities such as Glasgow, Exeter and London that seems to select on the basis of ethnicity. (Guardian, 29 January 2018)

29/30 January: The trial of Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding begins at Maidstone crown court, for religiously aggravated harassment after they protested outside the homes of Muslim men charged with sexual offences in Kent. One woman, Kelli Best, accuses Fransen of causing the loss of her unborn child. (Kent Live, 30 January 2018; Guardian, 30 January 2018)

1 February: The Austrian Chancellor launches proceedings to dissolve the Burschenschaft Germania zu Wiener Neustadt student fraternity, linked to the government’s extreme-right coalition partner, the Freedom party (FPÖ), after the emergence of a songbook which celebrates Nazi atrocities and mocks victims of the Holocaust. (Guardian, 1 February 2018)

Darren Osborne

Darren Osborne

2 February: Darren Osborne, 48, is given concurrent life sentences for the murder of Makram Ali, 51, and attempted murder after driving a rented van into a crowd near Finsbury park mosque in June 2017. (Guardian, 24, 30 January 2018, 2 February 2018)

2 February: Following the conviction of Darren Osborne for the Finsbury Park mosque attack, the government’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre reportedly starts its first assessment of the extreme-right threat to national security, to assess how ‘determined and able they are to murder, what their motivations are and how they spread their propaganda’. (Guardian, 2 February 2018)

2 February: In the German city of Cottbus, police intervene after the neo-Nazi NPD attempts to distribute tear-gas on the city’s promenade. There have been heightened tensions between refugees and locals in Cottbus, with the local authorities announcing a freeze on new arrivals and the far Right organising a demonstration. (The Local, 1 February 2018)

5 February: After a two-week trial, white terrorist Ethan Stables, 20, is found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism, making threats to kill and possessing explosives, after a plot to kill those attending a gay-pride event at a Cumbrian pub. (News & Star, 5 February 2018)

Education

1 February: The Muslim Council of Britain criticises Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman’s speech at a Church of England schools conference, in which she supported the decision (since overturned) of the head of St Stephen’s primary school to ban girls under 8 wearing the hijab. Spielman warned against schools ‘being perverted’ on faith grounds and called on school leaders to use ‘muscular liberalism’ to defend decisions, rather than fear causing offence. (Guardian, 1 February 2018)

Employment and labour exploitation

30 January: Doctors in Unite the Union pass a motion to support health workers who refuse to check migrant patient eligibility for NHS treatment. (British Medical Journal, 30 January 2018)

29 January: The Chief Executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust criticises Home Office regulations that have stopped the employment of fourteen doctors from the EU. (Express & Star, 29 January 2018)

30 January: Migrant worker cleaners employed by City Central Cleaners win the London Living wage after threatening to strike, after they unanimously voted to strike after joining the independent union United Voices of the World (UVW). (The Canary, 30 January 2018)

Housing

29 January: Winston Dowarris, 69, suffers a heart attack, as he returns to his home opposite the Grenfell Tower to collect his post. He had been suffering from panic attacks and flashbacks since the fire. (Guardian, 29 January 2018)

5 February: Police are investigating a Leicestershire landowner after he sent local residents a letter offering £250 if they supported his plans for development, and claimed that if he failed to win his application, Gypsies would move on to the land. (BBC News, 5 February 2018)

DiscriminationEnochPowell_edited

3 February: Three Wolverhampton Labour MPs oppose ‘deeply divisive’ plans for a blue plaque commemorating the life of Enoch Powell. (Express & Star, 3 February 2018)

Health

29 January: The chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Health writes to the chief executive of NHS Digital, requesting that NHS Digital immediately withdraws from a memorandum of understanding with the Home Office that allows for the sharing of patients’ addresses for immigration tracing purposes. Read the letter here. (Parliament website, 31 January 2018, Guardian, 1 February 2018)

5 February: The government announces that charges paid by temporary migrants to the UK to use the NHS are to double; the immigration health surcharge will increase from £200 to £400 per year. (Guardian, 5 February 2018)

National security

25 January: Sara Khan is appointed as the head of a new Commission for Countering Extremism, an appointment which is widely criticised by Muslim community groups. (Guardian, 25 January 2018)

25 January: The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation publishes: The Terrorism Acts in 2016: Report by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on the operation of the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006. Download it here

Sport

26 January: The Chief Executive of Peterborough Council speaks to local football associations in Huntingdon and Northants after players with FC Peterborough were racially abused. (Peterborough Today, 26 January 2018) 

2 February: Newcastle United extends an investigation into allegations of racism and bullying at the club. (BBC News, 2 February 2018)

Party politics

26 January: The Canary and Cornish Stuff reveal that a prospective Tory councillor in Cornwall, Richard Cunningham, has shared memes about dressing up as a Nazi on Facebook and supported anti-immigration posts. (The Canary, 26 January 2018)

26 January: All seventeen Ukip councillors in Thurrock quit the party to form an independent group. (Huffington Post, 26 January 2018)

27 January: Miloš Zeman, the Czech Republic’s populist president, noted for his Islamophobic and anti-immigrant views, is narrowly re-elected in a tense contest against the liberal candidate Jiří Drahoš, who Zeman portrayed as weak on immigration. (Guardian, 27 January 2018)

29 January: The Labour Party in Scotland begins an investigation after Anas Sarwar claims that a member told him they could not support him as his wife wore a hijab. While another member is reported to have said: ‘Scotland wouldn’t vote for a brown Muslim P**i’. (BBC News, 29 January 2018)

4 February: Humza Yousaf, a SNP minister, reveals that he carries a personal alarm after receiving online racist death threats. (Daily Record, 4 February 2018)

6 February: In the run-up to the general election, Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi pledges to deport 600,000 illegal immigrants should his centre-right coalition, which also comprises the far-right Northern League and Brothers for Italy, enter the Italian government on 4 March. (Guardian, 6 February 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people 

26 January: Police appeal for information after an elderly couple in their 60s were racially abused and had eggs thrown at them by four people in a car, as they walked along a Welwyn Garden City Street on 10 January. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 25 January 2018)

26 January: Market traders near Havant train station are racially abused by a gang who then go on to attack a 26-year-old with a hammer. Police later arrest four teenagers aged under 17. (The News – Portsmouth, 29 January 2018)

27 January: Three men are arrested after a family of four are racially abused and attacked outside a Bella Italia restaurant in Northampton, leaving the whole family requiring hospital treatment. (Northants Telegraph, 27 January 2018; STV, 28 January 2018)

3 February: In the Italian city of Macerata, a gunman goes on a two hour drive-by shooting spree injuring six African migrants, leaving one in a critical condition. Luca Traini, who last year stood as a candidate for the extreme-right Northern League, is arrested. (Guardian, 3 February 2018)

5 February: Police release CCTV footage of a man who racially abused a woman at a bus station in Harborough in two separate incidents. In the first, he followed the woman off a bus and spat at her. (Northants Telegraph, 5 February 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

29 January: Police appeal for information after a woman driving in Milton Keynes was subjected to a racist road rage incident on 22 January. The woman was racially abused and had her wing mirror kicked off by a white man aged between 20 and 30. (Milton Keynes Citizen, 29 January 2018)

29 January: Anti-Semitic graffiti is daubed on a children’s playground in Rochester, Kent. (Kent Online, 29 January 2018)

29 January: A family are left in fear after an unknown man breaks into their New Forest home and smashes windows with a large hammer; the family later find a note saying ‘N.F. Get out our area!’ (Daily Echo, 29 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: online racism

31 January: A judge at Yeovil County Court throws out a case brought by Fergus Wilson against YouTube vlogger Danny Hyde, who had posted a video accusing Wilson of racism after he refused to let ‘coloured’ people rent his homes because of the ‘curry smell.’ Wilson is ordered to pay £3,000 costs. (Property Industry Eye, 31 January 2018)

Violence and harassment: charges

29 January: Marie Saffy, 52, is charged with attempted murder and a racially aggravated public order offence after a disturbance at a house in Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. (@DeesideDotCom, 29 January 2018)

5 February: Four pupils at an Aberdeenshire school, aged 13, 14, 15, and 16, are charged in relation to acting in an allegedly racially aggravated manner at their school. (Evening Express, 5 February 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

24 January: Chloe Glew, 20, is sentenced to sixteen months youth custody, eight months for racially aggravated common assault and eight months for breaching a suspended sentence, after punching a woman to the ground in Tonbridge and becoming violent for no apparent reason. (Kent Online, 24 January 2018)

27 January: Adam Zawierski, 24, admits racially aggravated threatening behaviour towards a Co-op security guard in Swindon whom he aggressively racially abused; he receives a twelve week sentence suspended for eighteen months and an eight week curfew. (Swindon Advertiser, 27 January 2018)

29 January: Frank Scinto, 55, admits racially aggravated provocation of fear or violence and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, for threatening two Polish men as they walked down a Southend street. He is given a sixteen month sentence suspended for two years. (Echo, 29 January 2018)

29 January: Roy Larner, 48, who was dubbed the ‘Lion of London Bridge’ after being stabbed in the London Bridge attacks, admits racially aggravated common assault and religiously aggravated harassment after two incidents in February and July. In the first he attacked a photographer and in the second, he launched a racist outburst at his MP. He is sentenced to eight weeks, suspended for twelve months, fined £50 and banned from his MP’s office for two years. (Metro, 29 January 2018)

31 January: Robert Jones pleads guilty to one count of racially aggravated common assault and a public order offence after racially abusing and attempting to punch a Philippino man who intervened to stop him harassing a young girl on a bus. Jones receives a twelve month community order and a £120 fine. (ITV, 31 January 2018)

31 January: Cheryl McKeown, 32, is convicted of a seventeen-month campaign of racial harassment of a family of five who lived next door to her in Shepherd’s Bush. She receives a twenty-six week prison sentence suspended for two years, a restraining order, six month curfew and she is told to attend rehab. (Get West London, 3 February 2018)

31 January: French student Phillippe Roubert, 20, pleads guilty to having a knife in a public place and is given a conditional charge. He told Exeter magistrates he was carrying the knife because he was scared to live in post-Brexit Britain and needed protection. (Telegraph, 31 January 2018)

Ben Harman and George Jeffrey

Ben Harman and George Jeffrey

2 February: Two 21-year-old Croydon men, George Jeffrey and Ben Harman, are found guilty of two counts of violent disorder in connection with a brutal racist attack on Iranian asylum seeker Reker Ahmed in March 2017. The two, alongside five others (convicted at an earlier trial) will be sentenced on 2 March 2018. (Croydon Advertiser, 2 February 2018)

5 February: Ryan Taylor, 29, pleads guilty to racially abusing a 12-year-old girl who was left shaking with fear, after he called her a ‘black rat’ and a ‘n****r’ as she shopped with friends in Paisley. Sentencing is adjourned until 22 March. (Daily Record, 5 February 2018)

Violence and harassment: research and statisticscst-antisemitic-incidents-report-2017

24 January: The University of Sussex Hate Crime Project publishes its Final Report, download it here (pdf file, 1.6mb). 

29 January: New data from twenty-nine police forces in England and Wales shows a rise in the number of hate crimes related to religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, and disability or transgender identity. There have been 1,487 crimes with a hate element at or near schools and colleges in the last two academic years. (Guardian, 29 January 2018)

1 February: New figures from the Community Security Trust find that anti-Semitic hate crimes in the UK have hit a record high. It recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2017. Download Antisemitic Incidents Report 2017 here. (Independent, 1 February 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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