Calendar of racism and resistance (30 August – 12 September)

September 13, 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

21, 28 August: Three volunteers with the Emergency Response Center International (ECRI), including German-based Syrian refugee Sarah Mardini, are arrested on Lesbos and in Athens on charges of facilitating illegal entry for profit, having advance notice of smuggler routes and illegal monitoring of coastguard traffic. (InfoMigrants, 30 August 2018)

29 August: The Joint Committee on Human Rights reveals that the Home Office contract with Capita for removals included a bonus of 2.5 per cent for exceeding the target; the bonus rose to 12.5 per cent if removals exceeded the target by 10 per cent. (Guardian, 29 August 2018)

29 August: The House of Commons Library publishes a briefing on Immigration detention: an overview, read the summary and report here. (House of Commons Library, 29 August 2018)

29 August: The House of Commons Library publishes a report on The Right to Rent: private landlords’ duty to carry out immigration status checks. Read the summary and report here. (House of Commons Library, 29 August 2018)

2 September: Around 20,000 people march through Berlin and Hamburg under the banner of the Sea Bridge rights group, demanding that Germany’s ports are opened to stranded migrant refugee ships in the Mediterranean. (Deutsche Welle, 2 September 2018)

3 September: The proportion of refugees and displaced people dying in the voyage across the Mediterranean has risen sharply, according to a report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. From January to July 2018, over 1,600 people died, at least 1,000 of them in the Central Mediterranean, equating to one death for every 18 arrivals, compared with one death to 42 arrivals in 2017. (UNHCR, 3 September 2018)

3 September: A Freedom of Information response reveals that the Home Office loses three-quarters of its final appeals against judicial decisions granting migrants permission to stay on asylum or human rights grounds. (Guardian, 3 September 2018)

4 September: Information disclosed in a judicial review shows that Home Office ministers vetoed a pay rise for immigration detainees doing menial work to £1.15 an hour from £1 an hour, a rate which has remained unchanged for ten years. (Guardian, 4 September 2018)

4 September: Families of three Windrush immigrants who died in Jamaica after being wrongly deported from the UK will be able to claim compensation, immigration minister Caroline Nokes tells the House of Commons. (Guardian, 4 September 2018)

5 September: The Tunisian Fishermen Association of Zarzis protests to the Italian embassy in Tunis after six Tunisian fishermen are arrested and imprisoned in Sicily after towing a vessel in distress with fourteen migrants on board to safety, twenty-three miles from the coast of Italian island Lampedusa. (Guardian, 5 September 2018)

6 September: Some Windrush victims are still homeless, destitute, unable to open a bank account, draw a pension or work, five months after the government apology for their plight, they tell officials at a fact-finding ‘roadshow’. (Guardian, 6 September 2018)

6 September: A two-year pilot government scheme to grant visas to 2,500 agricultural workers a year from spring 2019 is criticised as not enough to bridge the Brexit gap by farmers and fruit growers, who employ 60,000 workers a year, mostly from eastern Europe. (Guardian, 6 September 2018)

6 September: The first human-trafficking case in Belgium, of twelve Belgians including two journalists charged with human trafficking, begins in Brussels. A solidarity protest attracts 150 people. (RTBF, 6 September 2018)

10 September: Damien Carême, the mayor of Grande-Synthe, France, writes to the prime minister asking for the opening of several small reception centres along the coast in the wake of yet another failed ‘removal’ of refugees. The Dunkirk ‘Jungle’ was cleared on 6 September but refugees are congregating again. Carême says if nothing is done before winter, he will assume the responsibility as mayor. (France Bleu, 10 September 2018)

10 September: The United Nations is sending human rights teams to Italy to investigate the sharp increase in acts of violence and racism against migrants, people of African descent and Roma people. (The Local, 10 September 2018) 

11 September: The crew of Sea-Watch 3 writes an open letter to the prime minister of Malta holding him and the government responsible for detaining their vessel for two months ‘without legal justification and rather on a merely political basis’. (Sea Watch, 11 September 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

28 August: A report by the centre-right think-tank Centre for Social Justice calls for an increase in the use of stop-and-search to curb the ‘toxic cycle of violence’ in London. (BBC News, 28 August 2018)

11 September: The family of Mark Duggan, who was shot by police in August 2011, lose a challenge in the Supreme Court against the inquest verdict ruling that his death was lawful. (BBC News, 11 September 2018)

Anti-fascism and the far Right 

30 August: A far-right demonstration in the German city of Chemnitz draws an estimated 2,000 people. AfD and Pegida say they are marching to ‘mourn Daniel H and the others killed by Germany’s forced multiculturalism’. (Reuters, 31 August 2018)

31 August: In Worcester, anti-fascist counter-protesters far outnumber members of the English Defence League which called its second demonstration in the city against plans  to build a mosque. (Worcester News, 1 September 2018)

31 August: Far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders cancels his ‘Muhammed cartoons’ competition so as, he say, ‘to avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence’. (Guardian, 31 August 2018)

1 September: Police use water cannon to disperse an AfD/Pegida anti-migrant rally and a ‘Show a Heart Not Hatred’ pro-refugee counter-rally in Chemnitz, Germany.  (Deutsche Welle, 2 September 2018)

4 September: The trial of three men accused of the 2013 killing of French anti-fascist student Clément Méric begins in Paris, with the defence arguing that the accused acted in self-defence and are no longer members of any far-right group. (Guardian, 4 September 2018)

5 September: Czech and Slovakian intelligence services warn of the risks posed by armed anti-migrant militias after a paramilitary base with tanks and armoured personnel carriers is discovered in Slovakia. (euobserver, 5 September 2018)

7 September: The Belgian national broadcaster VRT reveals that the Flemish nationalist group Schild en Vreinden has closed online discussion groups rife with anti-Semitic hate speech and is planning to take over the Flemish Youth Council and stand in local elections for the New Flemish Alliance, Belgium’s most popular party. (The Telegraph, 7 September 2018)

8 September: Le Monde reveals that the far-right Operational Forces Action Group (OFA) in France, the subject of an undercover police operation, was planning to attack mosques with grenades and poison halal meat, before police made thirteen arrests, with some of the suspects, including its leader, from a police or military background. (The National, 8 September 2018)

10 September: Several investigations into incitement to hatred are launched after far-right protesters at a rally to mark the death of a German man in a street fight with Afghans in Köthen, Saxony-Anhalt, chant neo-Nazi slogans. One speaker said, ‘we must defend ourselves in the race war against the German people’. (Guardian, 11 September 2018)

Media and culture

7 September: The official summary issued by Tower Hamlets of the final judgement in the so-called ‘Muslim fostering’ case reveals distortions and omissions in the Times’ coverage of the placing of a young girl with Muslim foster parents in Tower Hamlets in August 2017. Read the official summary here. (Byline, 7 September 2018)

7 September: At the Venice film festival post-screening conference, documentary-maker Errol Morris’ new film American Dharma is widely condemned for giving an uncritical platform to Donald Trump’s former alt-right advisor Steve Bannon and for normalising the far Right. (Geo TV, 7 September 2018) 

9 September: After Belgium’s only black TV presenter Cécile Djunga posts an emotional recording on Facebook describing the racist abuse and colonial attitudes thrown at her by the public, Le Soir and RTVB promise to do more to increase diversity and ethnic minority representation. (Guardian, 9 September 2018)

Electoral politics

7 September: Allen Keyte, chairman of the Conservative Party branch in Bishop’s Cleeve and former county councillor, is suspended after sharing posts made by Britain First on Facebook. (GloucestershireLive, 7 September 2018)

9 September: In the Swedish general election, the far-right Sweden Democrats emerge as the third largest party, with 17.6 per cent of the vote. (Guardian, 10 September 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people

29 August: In the east German town of Wismar, a 20-year-old migrant is beaten with an iron chain by three attackers in violence linked to events in Chemnitz. (Reuters, 30 August 2018)

30 August: Police appeal for information after a 34-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault and affray after allegedly punching one man in the face and hitting another with a piece of wood in Bury St Edmunds. (Bury Free Press, 30 August 2018)

31 August: Madekah Simpson, 23, launches a petition calling for transport firms to keep CCTV footage for thirty days, attracting 140,000 signatures, after she alleges that police dropped their investigation into a racist attack that took place against her in central London in March due to lack of CCTV evidence. (BBC News, 29 August 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

31 August: Anti-Semitic graffiti and swastikas are daubed on a towpath between Chiswick Bridge and Kew Bridge in Richmond. (Richmond & Twickenham Times, 31 August 2018)

9 September: In the third act of vandalism on The List, the words ‘invaders not refugees’ are daubed on the memorial in Liverpool to the 34,361 migrants and refugees who have died since 1993. (The Independent, 9 September 2018)

9 September: The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany reveals that neo-Nazis attacked a kosher restaurant in Chemnitz, eastern Germany in August and condemns the ‘obvious efforts of constitutional authorities to trivialise these incidents’. (Deutsche Welle, 9 September 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

30 August: Mark Warren, 42, is jailed for eight months for racially abusing, physically assaulting and threatening to stab a shop manager after being confronted for stealing at a hardware shop in Dundee. (Evening Telegraph, 30 August 2018)

31 August: Richard Wheeldon, 18, is given a suspended jail sentence and ordered to carry out community service and pay compensation after racially abusing, punching and kicking staff at a pub in Wisbech, Peterborough when confronted for stealing a pint of beer. (Peterborough Today, 31 August 2018)

3 September: Samuel Cook, 41, is jailed for ten months after racially abusing and grabbing a 16-year-old boy by the throat in a kebab shop in Edenbridge, Kent in March 2018. (KentOnline, 3 September 2018)

5 September: Darren Maddocks, 43, pleads guilty to racially aggravated public order offences and is given a suspended sentence for racially abusing and threatening his neighbours in Doncaster, resulting in them having to move house. (Doncaster Free Press, 5 September 2018)

6 September: Rita Heaton, 62, is given an injunction order for racially abusing and threatening to kill her neighbour’s children. (24 Housing, 6 September 2018)

7 September: John Mark, 37, is fined and ordered to pay compensation for racially abusing and threatening to stab a British Asian man inside a supermarket in Newcastle. (ChronicleLive, 7 September 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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