Calendar of racism and resistance (5 – 17 May 2017)

May 18, 2017 — 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

enar-shadow-report2 May: The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) publishes a report: Racism and discrimination in the context of migration in Europe: ENAR’s Shadow Report, 2015/2016, download it here (pdf file, 3.6mb).

6 May: Two reception centres in Cosenza, Italy are closed down and 14 people arrested for exploitation after a police investigation finds that the centres have become agencies for labour exploitation, hiring out migrants to farmers who pay them €15 a day for 10 hours of work in fields. (InfoMigrants, 7 May 2017)

7 May: A Malian man, an asylum seeker who has been in Italy for 18 months, commits suicide in the Milan station area. The 32-year-old is found by the police, hanged, close to the reception centre. (Newsweek, 8 May 2017)

8 May: An Iraqi man, Zana Yusif, pleads guilty at the Old Bailey to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, after the death of 64-year-old Tarek Chowdhury at Colnbrook detention centre on 1 December 2017. Sentencing is adjourned until 21 June. (Evening Standard, 8 May 2017)

9 May: 350 French police remove 1,000 refugees, mostly Afghan and Sudanese, from the makeshift camp under the bridges at the Porte de La Chapelle area of Paris, claiming ‘major risks for the security and health of their occupants as well as for local residents’. They say the refugees will be sent to accommodation across France. (Independent, 9 May 2017)

10 May: It is revealed that hundreds of asylum seekers may have been wrongly deported to Albania because of incorrect guidance relied upon by the Home Office. (Guardian, 10 May 2017)

11 May: Freedom of Information requests made by VICE reveal that local authorities across the country have offered to support almost 1,600 unaccompanied asylum seeking children, but the government has not taken up most of their offers. (VICE, 11 May 2017)

12 May: The annual report of Frontex’ human rights consultative forum calls on the agency to establish an accessible, impartial, transparent and independent complaints system. Read the report here.

14 May: New Europe reveals how Polish border guards are turning away mainly Chechnyan asylum seekers and returning them to Belarus, in breach of the Refugee Convention. (New Europe, 14 May 2017)

16 May: Corporate Watch reports on the major commercial airlines, such as Royal Jordanian, Turkish Airlines, and Qatar Airways, being used by the Home Office to deport refugees to war zones including Iraq. (Corporate Watch,16 May 2017)

16 May: Italian police arrest 68 people, including a Catholic priest, accused of siphoning off €32 million of EU funds intended to support refugees arriving at Calabria’s Cara Sant’Anna reception centre, run by the Catholic Misericordia association. Charges include association with mafia, extortion and carrying illegal weapons, and police describe the Catholic charity, which also runs a facility on Lampedusa, as ‘a cash withdrawal machine for the mafia’. (EU Observer, 16 May 2017)

16 May: The German government publishes a plan to deport unaccompanied Moroccan migrant children who commit offences in Germany to purpose-built care homes in Morocco. (ECRE Bulletin, 16 May 2017)

16 May: The EU’s foreign affairs representative, Federica Mogherini, confirms that EU border agents will patrol Libya’s borders, including its southern border, to prevent migrants from sub-Saharan Africa coming to Europe. (Independent, 16 May 2017)

16 May: Ismael ‘Maruja’ Abdelah, a Spanish footballer from AD Ceuta, is arrested for smuggling a migrant across the Mediterranean. Abdelah allegedly gave a team tracksuit to the migrant to allow him to board the ferry with the team. (The Local, 16 May 2017)

17 May: According to the Red Cross, pregnant refugees and asylum seekers in the UK are facing ‘unacceptable delays’ in receiving essential maternity support, with delays in financial support leaving women left unable to eat properly during pregnancy or provide for their babies. (Independent, 17 May 2017)

Violence and harassment

3 May: The trial of four men charged with the murder of Kazakhstani man, Klaus B begins in Waldbrol, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The men allegedly beat Klaus B with a knuckle duster and baseball bat in September 2016 during a ‘refugee hunt’. He died nine days later from his injuries. (Independent, 3 May 2017)

3 May: Two transgender refugees are hospitalised after being attacked in Leros, Greece. The women were attacked from behind by a racist vigilante group on motorcycles. (Greek Reporter, 6 May 2017, Are you Syrious, 4 May 2017)

6 May: Statistics obtained by the Times Educational Supplement reveal that thirty police forces recorded an 89 per cent increase in reported hate crime among school pupils in the month before the EU referendum was held. (Independent, 6 May 2017)

7 May: Two young brothers are attacked by a gang of teenagers in Aberford Park, Borehamwood; they are kicked, racially abused and one has his skull cap knocked off. (Borehamwood Times, 11 May 2017)

9 May: A pig’s trotter is hung up outside a community centre in Seaford, which is to be converted into a mosque; locals replace it with a bunch of flowers. (The Argus, 15 May 2017)

10 May: As police in Rome investigate a fire in the Centocelle neighbourhood that claimed the lives of three Roma sisters aged 4, 8 and 20, news reports suggest the family’s camper van may have been deliberately targeted. Surviving family members report receiving threats from local residents, and another camper had recently been torched. (Associated Press, 10 May 2017)

10 May: Three Flintshire men, Chad Stagg, 20, Daniel Butler, 19, Anthony Stagg, 52, are jailed for a racist attack on a Polish man, Przemyslaw Zylinski on 27 May 2016 in Flint, North Wales. (BBC News, 10 May 2017)

10 May: In Plymouth, three Polish students suffer cuts and bruising in an unprovoked attack by a man who racially abuses and punches them. (Plymouth Herald, 10 May 2017)

11 May: Police seek information after seventeen cars were damaged with racist graffiti in Halesowen overnight on 1 May. (Birmingham Mail, 11 May 2017)

12 May: A prison officer from Perth, Daniel Cochrane, admits sending messages of a grossly offensive nature on 8 January against Muslims and Catholics on Facebook. Sentencing is deferred for reports. (The Courier, 12 May 2017)

12 May: The Independent reports that police in Ashford have dropped an investigation into an alleged racist attack on a 17-year-old Eritrean refugee which left him with two broken teeth. (Independent, 14 May 2017)

17 May: The Police Service of Northern Ireland publishes: Incidents and Crimes with a Hate Motivation Recorded by the Police in Northern Ireland, view and download the statistics here.

Policing and criminal justice

3 May: The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights publishes a letter to Greek authorities highlighting the long-standing and systematic problem of violence against refugees by police and law enforcement agencies. (Council of Europe, 4 May 2017)

6 May: Black actor Oraine Johnson accuses police of racial profiling and targeting him as a drug dealer outside Bridport Arts Centre hours before a show highlighting racism and discrimination, in which he is appearing. (Dorset Echo, 11 May 2017)

Olaseni Lewis

Olaseni Lewis

8 May: The inquest into the death of Olaseni Lewis, who died in Bethlem Royal hospital after being restrained by police officers in September 2010, records a narrative verdict that ‘excessive force, pain compliance techniques and multiple mechanical restraints were disproportionate and unreasonable. On the balance of probability, this contributed to the cause of death.’ (Guardian, 9 May 2017)

11 May: A teenager criticises Hertfordshire police for racial profiling after a concert is cancelled at a club in Hitchin following police ‘advice’ to the club concerning alleged threats of gang violence. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 13 May 2017)

15 May: Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) publishes issue no. 42 of its Newsletter. Download it here (pdf file, 1.1mb)

Far right

4 May: Italian neo-fascists, including members of Forza Nuova, demonstrate and occupy part of IOM’s offices in Rome, shouting anti-migrant chants and protesting against NGO rescue missions of refugees and migrants at sea. (Daily Sabah, 4 May 2017)

6 May: A small far-right South East Alliance demonstration outside Lunar House in Croydon is met by a 400-strong anti-fascist demonstration. Five people are arrested. (This is Local London, 8 May 2017)

7 May: The Independent reports on a ‘secret’ meeting which took place in February, at which far-right activists such as David Irving and other Holocaust deniers spoke. (Independent, 7 May 2017)

7 May: Scotland’s Sunday Mail exposes two fascist brothers, Marc and Daniel Sturrock, as key figures in the Scottish Defence League. (Daily Record, 7 May 2017)

8 May: The coordinator for child refugees in the central Swedish town of Falun tells SVT television that 50 children and staff from a local refugee centre were evacuated from the town, amidst security concerns about the neo-nazi Nordic Resistance Movement May Day rally. Three NRM members are in police custody after a bomb attack in Gothenburg in January, which left an asylum centre staff member seriously injured. (The Local, 8 May 2017)

8 May: Police warn Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, after he tries to speak to the defendants at a rape trial at Canterbury Crown Court. (Kent Live, 8 May 2017)

9 May: Wayne Bell, 36, appears at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with two counts of stirring up racial hatred and three counts of possessing items in order to destroy or damage property, after allegedly distributing neo-Nazi and racist material on the internet. (BBC News, 9 May 2017)

10 May: Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, leaders of Britain First, are arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after posting videos on social media in connection with the ongoing rape trial at Canterbury. (KentLive, 11 May 2017)

14 May: The far-Right Alternative for Germany (Afd) scores 7.4 per cent in elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, entering the state parliament for the first time. AfD is now represented in 13 out of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. (Deutsche Welle, 14 May 2017)

16 May: Two ex-Britain First members, Jason Stanyard, 37, and Simon Humphreys, 50, admit charges in connection with an attack on a Telford computer shop where staff were terrorised, racially abused and accused of being paedophiles by a gang of seven. One man receives a suspended sentence and the other is given a community order. (Shropshire Star, 17 May 2017)

Party politics 

11 May: UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says he stands by MEP Gerard Batten, who called Islam a ‘death cult’ steeped in violence in a blogpost in March. (Guardian, 11 May 2017)

15 May: Conservative party councillor Nick Harrington of Warwick District Council, who also works as a magistrate, is suspended from his party after tweeting offensive comments about the Irish during the Eurovision song contest. Police also launch an investigation, and he later stands down as a magistrate and councillor. (Leamington Courier, 15 May 2017, Leamington Observer, 15, 17 May 2017)

Media

kingscollege-media-report9 May: It is revealed that Kelvin MacKenzie is to leave his job as a Sun columnist after making racially offensive comments about an Everton football player, for which he was suspended. (Guardian, 9 May 2017)

10 May: New research by King’s College finds that media coverage of the EU referendum campaign was dominated by ‘overwhelmingly negative’ reports about the consequences of migration. Download the report, UK media coverage of the 2016 EU Referendum Campaign, here (pdf file, (7.2mb). (Guardian, 10 May 2017)

National security

8 May: The Guardian reports on banks closing charities’ accounts in ‘de-risking’ policies brought about by terrorist financing and money laundering regulations, preventing charities from providing services. Charities affected include some helping young people with HIV, some supporting homeless people and anti-fascist organisation Searchlight. (Guardian, 8 May 2017)

17 May: Campaigning organisation Cage plans a legal challenge to the demand to hand over passwords to laptops or mobile phones to border officials at airports, ports and international rail stations under anti-terror laws, after its international director Muhammad Rabbani was arrested at Heathrow and later charged with wilful obstruction under the Terrorism Act for refusal to hand over passwords. (Observer, 14 May 2017, Guardian, 17 May 2017)

Education

12 May: A new report by the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights finds that BAME teachers in Scotland regularly experience ‘casual racist remarks’ and behaviour (from other teachers and pupils) and that 60 per cent of teachers want to leave their profession. (Deadline News, 12 May 2017)

18 May: A school census takes place, the target of a campaign by parents and educationalists who are seeking to stop the Department for Education collecting country of birth and nationality data on pupils. View a campaign video by Against Borders for Children here.abc-logo-big

Employment

12 May: The Supreme Court hears a landmark legal case that could mean greater employment protection for BAME workers, especially those working in the public sector. (The Voice, 12 May 2017)

12 May: A Jaguar employee in Coventry wins more than £19,000 in damages after an employment tribunal finds that he suffered harassment and discrimination because of his race and disabilities. (Coventry Telegraph, 12 May 2017)

12 May: The BBC reveals that an Asian police officer was accused of gross misconduct, threatened with losing his job and told he was a liar after complaining about the racist treatment of a black colleague. He took a case to an employment tribunal and accepted damages of £35,000 before the full hearing of the case. (BBC News, 12 May 2017)

Housing 

jcwi-logo16 May: The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants writes to the Home Office calling on it to halt the rollout in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of its Right to Rent scheme, which requires landlords to carry out immigration checks on prospective tenants, and for a full evaluation of the scheme’s effects. The letter is a prelude to a legal challenge. The JCWI is raising funds for the legal challenge to the expansion of landlord immigration checks, support it here. (Independent, 16 May 2017)

16 May: Fergus Wilson, Britain’s biggest buy-to-let investor, who banned Indian and Pakistani tenants on account of ‘curry smells’, is to face legal action, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) applies for an injunction at Central London County Court over the lettings policy. (Metro, 17 May 2017)

Discrimination

15 May: Italy’s highest court rules that Sikh men are not allowed to carry a kirpan, a knife considered sacred and one of the five articles Sikhs are required by their religion to carry with them at all times. (The Local, 16 May 2017)

17 May: The Austrian parliament passes a law banning the wearing of the burqa in certain public places such as universities, courts and public transport. The law also provides for mandatory integration courses and unpaid work for migrants to ‘prepare them for the job market’. (DW, 17 May 2017)

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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