Calendar of racism and resistance (6 – 19 April 2018)

April 19, 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

elderrahimi-report5 April: Elder Rahimi solicitors publish: Systemic Delays in the Processing of the Claims for Asylum Made in the UK by Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), download it here.

5 April: Asylum charities in Liverpool raise concerns about the detention and planned deportation of the Mukerjee family, whose 23-year-old son Charles has learning difficulties and severe epilepsy. (Liverpool Echo, 5 April 2018)

5 April: Open Democracy reports on asylum-seeking mothers and children housed for months in B&B accommodation in Sheffield, alongside vulnerable single men. (Open Democracy, 5 April 2018)

8 April: Asylum rights groups raise concerns over new rules that have come into force with the Immigration Act 2016, which stop young asylum seekers from studying. (Observer, 8 April 2018)

9 April: A new report examining the ‘hostile environment’ is published, with contributions from nine campaigning organisations, including the National Union of Students, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Doctors of the World. Download A Guide to the Hostile Environment: The Border Controls Dividing Our Communities — and how we can Bring Them Down, here.a-guide-to-the-hostile-environment

9 April: The German interior ministry says it ‘emphatically supports’ a proposal put forward by the Central Council of Jews, that when it comes to tackling anti-Semitism, migrants who offend Germany’s democratic values should be expelled. The far-Right Alternative for Germany also backs the proposal. (Deutsche Welle, 9 April 2018)

9 April: The Guardian reports on Michael Braithwaite, who lost his job as a special needs assistant as he did not have the necessary identity papers, despite having lived in the UK for over fifty-six years. (Guardian, 9 April 2018)

10 April: The Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre for reporting year January to December 2017 is published, download it here.

11 April: The Guardian reports on the death of Nancy Motsamai on 12 March, five days after an attempted deportation to South Africa during which she collapsed and was accused of faking illness. The Home Office apologises for its handling of aspects of the case after her funeral was delayed because the Home Office failed to release her passport in time. (Guardian, 11, 12 April 2018)

12 April: Research by the University of Glasgow finds that two-thirds of Syrians, aged 18 to 32, who arrived in the UK through the Syrian resettlement programme are either in employment or studying. (Independent, 12 April 2018)

12 April: An investigation by a Swedish TV company and the Guardian concludes that Medhanie Tesfamariam Behre, a refugee from Eritrea who is currently in prison is Sicily awaiting trial for human smuggling, is the victim of a grave miscarriage of justice. The real smuggler lives freely in Uganda, but the Italian prosecutor’s office refuses to admit its mistake. (Guardian, 12 April 2018)

12 April: Seven Italian charities accuse the French border police of falsifying the birth dates of migrant children travelling alone, in order to send them back to Italy. (Guardian, 12 April 2018)

12 April: A meeting of the high commissioners of all Caribbean Commonwealth nations condemns the Home Office’s treatment of long-resident Commonwealth citizens in the UK. (Guardian, 12 April 2018)

16 April: Search and rescue NGO Proactiva’s ship Open Arms, which has rescued over 5,000 people from the central Mediterranean over three years and was impounded in Sicily for over a month when it docked with 218 migrants on board, is released, but two crew members remain under investigation for people smuggling. (Guardian, 16 April 2018)

TheresaMay16 April: Prime minister Theresa May is forced into a U-turn over her refusal to meet Caribbean heads of state to discuss the treatment of the ‘Windrush generation’ of Commonwealth citizens, and home secretary Amber Rudd apologises and promises a 20-strong team to resolve their cases at no cost, after huge public and media outcry. (Guardian, 16 April 2018)

17 April: Theresa May apologises to Caribbean heads of state over the treatment of long-resident Commonwealth citizens and promises no one will be deported. (Guardian, 17 April 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

28 March: The Court of Appeal rules that defendants in a criminal trial who claim to be victims of modern slavery or trafficking who were compelled to act cannot be convicted unless the prosecution can disprove it. (Free Movement, 9 April 2018)

6 April: At a pre-inquest hearing, the family of Leroy Junior Medford say that they would ‘like to get to the truth’ behind his death at Loddon Valley police station in Reading, in April 2017. (BBC News, 6 April 2018)

Leroy Medford

Leroy Medford

7 April: Detective Sergeant Stephen Redgewell, 52, is suspended for allegedly sending racist and sexist texts to a female trainee police officer who later medically retired from the force. (Mirror, 7 April 2018)

9 April: The Home Office publishes its Serious Violence Strategy, download it here.

9 April: A video filmed by students showing French CRS officers dragging a pregnant migrant woman out of a train in Menton, on the border with Italy, goes viral on social media. The prefecture of Alpes-Maritime says the violence was the fault of ‘the abnormal behaviour of those who were stopped’. (InfoMigrants, 9 April 2018)

11 April: Ahead of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, the Met police announce that they have no new leads in the case but are reviewing the case with a view to closing the murder inquiry.. (Guardian, 11 April 2018)

13 April: PC Andrew Birks, who was involved in the death of Sean Rigg in police custody in 2008, wins an appeal at the High Court against a refusal to let him resign and pursue a career in the Anglican church. (Premier Christian Radio, 13 April 2018)

Sean Rigg

Sean Rigg

13 April: The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directs the Met to begin misconduct hearings against five police officers involved in the death of Sean Rigg at Brixton police station in July 2008. (Guardian, 13 April 2018)

15 April: The Guardian reveals that the National Crime Agency is considering starting a new criminal investigation into the Stephen Lawrence murder, with four police detectives facing investigation for misconduct in public office. (Guardian, 15 April 2018)

17 April: The undercover police officer who spied on the family of Stephen Lawrence, in the aftermath of his racist murder in 1993, is identified by the Undercover Policing Inquiry as David Hagan. (Guardian, 17 April 2018)Stephen_Lawrence

Anti fascism and the far Right

5 April: The army orders an inquiry after the Irish Sun reveals that 23-year-old Graham Bolger has returned to the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards in west London, despite being convicted for online hate comments in which he declared himself a neo-Nazi, praised the Holocaust and wrote ‘If I was to kill all Muslims I wouldn’t leave the child, I’d kill that too’. (Irish Sun, 5 April 2018)

6 April: Forty German town mayors sign a joint declaration against the neo-Nazi Shield and Sword Festival, set to take place in the Saxon town of Ostritz on 20 April to mark Hitler’s birthday. (DPA, 6 April 2018)

6 April: A man is arrested at Leeds crown court on suspicion of racially aggravated assault after EDL supporters allegedly enter a court in protest. (Leeds Live, 6 April 2018)

6 April: The Polish Educational Society seeks explanations from two UK Polish language schools which allegedly have far-right links, and warns other schools to be vigilant of far-right activity. (Guardian, 6 April 2018)

8 April: In the German states of Brandenburg and Thüringia, police raid the homes of eight members of Citizens of the Reich suspected of founding a far-right terrorist organisation. (Reuters, 8 April 2018)

9 April: Matthew Hankinson, 23, appears with five others at the Old Bailey charged with membership of National Action, the banned far-right organisation. (St Helen’s Star, 9 April 2018)

11 April: A report by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism highlights a strengthening of the extreme right in Europe accompanied by slogans and symbols reminiscent of the 1930s, although violent antisemitic incidents decreased. (Guardian, 11 April 2018)

12 April: Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, is cleared of possession of a document for use in terrorism (Anders Breivik’s manifesto) and two counts of stirring up racial hatred in posts on a racist site. He earlier pleaded guilty to possession of a CS gas canister. (Guardian, 12 April 2018)

14 April: Martin Sellner, 29, from Austria, and Abel Bodi from Hungary are denied entry to the UK, after flying in to Stansted airport to attend a Generation Identity (GI) conference. (Guardian, 14 April 2018)

14 April: A Generation Identity (GI) conference in London is forced to move to Sevenoaks, where it is disrupted and forced to end early after the venue cancels the booking. (Anti Fascist Network, 16 April 2018; Kent Live, 15 April 2018)

15 April: The Daily Star Sunday reveals that convicted Britain First leader Jayda Fransen has been forced to take part in a Prevent programme to tackle radicalisation. (Daily Star, 15 April 2018)

Education

abc-logo-big9 April: Schools Week reveals that the Department for Education has decided to stop its collection of data on pupils’ nationality and country of birth, a policy which was subject to a legal challenge and a nation-wide campaign by Against Borders for Children (ABC). (Schools Week, 9 April 2018)

12 April: The University of Southampton begins an investigation after computer science students post racist comments, which are later removed, on a shared spreadsheet. (The Tab, 12 April 2018)

Employment and labour exploitationflex_shakyfoundations

10 April: A new study reveals that migrant construction workers in London are exploited and face abuse and discrimination. Download a copy of the report by Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX): Shaky Foundations: Labour Exploitation in London’s Construction Sector, here

14 April: Migrant cleaners at Tate Modern storm the gallery’s Picasso exhibition in protest at the exhibition’s main sponsor, Ernst & Young, which subcontracts the cleaning contract to ISS and is currently negotiating to cut staff numbers. (Evening Standard, 15 April 2018)

Housing

8 April: Housing groups condemn the Home Office for dismissing their demand for a consultative panel to oversee allegations that landlords have refused to rent to people for discriminatory reasons, and for a wider evaluation of the Right to Rent scheme. (24 Housing, 9 April 2018)

13 April: Human rights groups criticise a government review of police and local authority powers to evict Gypsies and Travellers from unauthorised sites, saying that questions guiding the consultation ‘would reinforce anti-Gypsyism’ and that the shortage of legal sites is the real problem that needs addressing. (Guardian, 13 April 2018)

13 April: Housing minister Dominic Raab is forced to defend comments that immigration had increased house prices, after being challenged by the UK Statistics Authority to publish evidence which reveals that his analysis was based on an out-of-date model. (Guardian, 13 April 2018)

Media and culture

8 April: Daily Mail theatre critic Quentin Letts is criticised by the Royal Shakespeare Company for writing a review of The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich with a ‘blatantly racist attitude’. (Guardian, 8 April 2018)

9 April: After police reveal that the van driver who killed two people in Münster is a German man with psychological problems, the Central Council of Muslims issue a statement criticising media double standards, asking why German perpetrators are described as ‘psychologically disturbed’, while Muslim ones are ‘Islamist’ terrorists. (The Local, 9 April 2018)

10 April: One of the last Hungarian newspapers critical of Viktor Orbán announces its closure as the prime minister accuses critical media, along with NGOs, of being part of a ‘Soros plot’ to send millions of migrants to Hungary. (Guardian, 10 April 2018)

EnochPowell_edited12 April: The decision by the BBC to re-enact Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech on BBC radio’s Archive on 4 programme is widely criticised, and Labour peer Lord Andrew Adonis writes a letter of complaint to Ofcom calling for the programme to be withdrawn. (Guardian, 12 April 2018)

13 April: The Hungarian weekly publication Figyelo publishes the names of 200 people it claims are connected to a plan by George Soros to topple the government. This follows prime minister Viktor Orban’s claim that a ‘Soros mercenary army’ plans to ‘transform Hungary into an immigrant country’. (novinite.com, 13 April 2018)

17 April: German musicians protest the BMVI Music Group and return their prizes after a rap duo accused of using antisemitic lyrics is awarded an Echo, the German music industry’s most important prize which is based on record sales. In the lyrics, Kollegah and Farid Bang compared their toned muscles to those of an Auschwitz survivor. (Deutsche Welle, 17 April 2018)

17 April: Former ‘Smiths’ frontman Morrissey attacks halal meat and professes his support for Anne Marie Waters and her new far-right party For Britain, in an interview published on his website. (Guardian, 17 April 2018)

Sport

10 April: Gillingham FC issues a statement in relation to its legal dealings with ex-player Mark McCammon, who was found to have suffered race victimisation by dismissal, unfair dismissal and unauthorised deduction from wages. (Kent Online, 10 April 2018)

14 April: Spalding United player Ker Miller alleges that he was racially abused during a match by a Bedworth United fan, who is later ejected from the ground. (Spalding Today, 16 April 2018)

Electoral politics

5 April: It is announced that Calderdale councillor Mike Payen will face no further action for sharing an article calling Muslims ‘parasites’, as he was not a councillor at the time, so the code of conduct did not apply. (BBC News, 5 April 2018)

8 April: The ruling anti-migrant Fidesz party wins the Hungarian general elections, with 133 seats in the 199-seat parliament, and the far-right Jobbik party wins twenty-six seats. OSCE election observers criticise the use of public funds for so-called ‘government information campaigns’ (including a poster modelled on UKIP’s controversial ‘breaking point’ billboard), and condemn the intimidating and xenophobic election atmosphere. (Guardian, 8, 9 April 2018)

8 April: On International Roma Day, Pope Francis calls for ‘greater understanding of Roma culture’, while Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League that heads the polls in Italy, tweets that Roma should ‘work more and steal less’, and that the day might be worth celebrating if Roma ‘sent their children to school instead of teaching them to steal’. (Il Globo, 9 April 2018)

9 April: Alternative for Germany (AfD) deputy leader Beatrix von Storch faces calls for her resignation after sending out a tweet that blamed an incident in Münster, in which a German man drove a van into a crowded cafe, killing two people and injuring dozens, on Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. (The Local, 9 April 2018)

12 April: Philip Winter, a Bristol Ukip councillor of Almondsbury Parish Council, claims that violent crime in London is caused by mentally challenged BAME communities. (Bristol Post, 12 April 2018)

12 April: Northern Ireland Independent councillor Jolene Bunting is criticised for appearing to defend racist leaflets that were recently distributed in Belfast. (Newsletter, 12 April 2018)

16 April: Neil Hamilton, the leader of Ukip in Wales, defends Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, saying it has been ‘proved right by events’. (BBC News, 16 April 2018)

17 April: Liberal Democrat council candidate Lynn Appleby, who was due to stand in the Sandhill ward, Sunderland, is suspended and under investigation following posts on her Facebook emerge, including her sharing an article written by the far-right group ‘Infidels of Britain’. (Chronicle Live, 17 April 2018)

17 April: MPs describe death threats, abuse and harassment in an unprecedented House of Commons debate on antisemitism, called by the government. Communities secretary Sajid Javid accuses Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of ‘lacking moral clarity’ on the issue. (Guardian, 17 April 2018) 

Violence and harassment: attacks on people 

5 April: A woman on a bus in Stockport is racially abused by a gang of teenagers who throw alcohol over her, and break the nose of a man who intervenes. (Manchester Evening News, 9 April 2018)

5 April: A man at Newcastle-under-Lyme bus station racially abuses a group of five female students, spits at them and tries to take a woman’s hijab off. (Stoke Sentinel, 9 April 2018)

5 April: A 32-year-old man who intervened in an argument on a street in Clevedon, north Somerset, is racially abused and knocked unconscious by two men with West Country accents. (Somerset Live, 9 April 2018)

6 April: One man suffers head injuries and another has part of his finger severed in a fight in a Huntingdon pub over alleged racial abuse. (Peterborough Today, 10 April 2018)

7 April: Police appeal for information after a man in his 30s is racially abused, punched in the face and hit with a wooden stick by two teenagers in Norwich. (Evening News, 16 April 2018)

11 April: A man in his 30s pushes a 4-year-old child to the ground and racially abuses the child’s mum in Lincoln. (Lincolnshire Live, 16 April 2018)

11 April: Police appeal for information after two men break into the Dovercourt home of a black man and attack him, leaving the victim with cuts and bruising. (Braintree & Witham Times, 11 April 2018)

13 April: Police release pictures of two men after a 42-year-old taxi driver is racially abused and assaulted several times when driving between Southampton Central railway station and Shirley. (Daily Echo, 13 April 2018)

15 April: A Polish man is hospitalised after he and three friends are attacked in Orchard Park, Hull by a gang of twenty men armed with a plank of wood studded with nails. (Hull Daily Mail, 16 April 2018)

18 April: An Arabic-speaking man attacks an Israeli man in Berlin with a belt, while shouting ‘Jew’. The attack is caught on video and published by the Jewish Forum for Democracy. (The Local, 18 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

4 April: Police appeal for information after racist graffiti is daubed on a resident’s door in Wilson Close, Dunfermline. (Courier, 11 April 2018)

8 April: Swastikas are daubed on a street in Dollis Hill, which are quickly removed, and an anti-racist vigil is held a few days later. (Wembley Matters, 8 April 2018; Kilburn Times, 10 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

6 April: British Transport Police appeal for information on a man who racially abused a woman on a train between Fenchurch Street and Shoebury, and threatened two men who intervened. (Braintree & Witham Times, 10 April 2018)

10 April: A Sheffield chicken shop worker is racially abused, spat at and told to ‘go back to your own country’ by a drunk white woman. (Mirror, 10 April 2018)

13 April: Police appeal for information on a man who racially abused a mother and her sons, aged 12 and 14, as they waited for a train at Prestatyn train station on 27 March. (Deeside.com, 13 April 2018)

13 April: A 30-year-old man is arrested in Romford after threatening Asian and black people in the town centre. (Romford Recorder, 16 April 2018)

13 April: Police release images of a white man aged between 35 to 45, after a Sikh man wearing a turban is racially abused in Nottingham city centre. (Notts TV, 16 April 2018)

17 April: Devon and Cornwall police appeal for information on an incident in January 2018 in Plymouth, during which a taxi driver was racially abused by one of three men who threatened to smash the window of his cab and failed to pay the fare. (Devon Live, 17 April 2018)

18 April: A Malmö rabbi has praised a local school for identifying two children who turned up at his synagogue and threatened to bomb it, and forcing them to go back to the synagogue and apologise. Rabbi Moshe-David HaCohen says that he accepts the teenagers’ apology and is working with the school to educate students about Judaism. (The Local, 18 April 2018).

Violence and harassment: charges

10 April: An unnamed 68-year-old man is charged with sending racist hate mail to Scottish Labour MP Anas Sarwar. (Daily Record, 10 April 2018)

16 April: Perry Booth, 59, is ordered to stand trial in September after denying charges of using racially aggravated threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to an estate agent in Dewsbury. (Huddersfield Examiner, 16 April 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

6 April: Daniel Marshall, 29, is sentenced to eight-and-a-half-years in prison for racially aggravated robbery after racially abusing and robbing a 21-year-old man outside his Sheffield flat. The victim suffered jaw fractures, a broken nose and chipped teeth. (South Yorkshire Times, 6 April 2018)

6 April: Nicky Mason, 49, is convicted of various offences including causing racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress and jailed for a year. He was found to have made ‘disparaging, threatening and abusive’ remarks, a Nazi salute and to have barged into a black man and a woman wearing a hijab in a shop. (Bristol Post, 6 April 2018)

12 April: Connor Ward, 25, is jailed for at least six years after being found guilty of offences under the Terrorism Act. He obtained components for bombs and kept a list of addresses of mosques in Scotland. (BBC News, 12 April 2018)

13 April: Alastair Turnbull, 38, admits racially aggravated offences and is jailed for six months, after abusing and threatening a shopkeeper and refusing to leave the shop in Douglas. (Evening Telegraph, 13 April 2018)

13 April: James Gillespie, 25, is sentenced to eighty hours unpaid work for racially abusing a friend’s mother at her home in Rosyth, Dunfermline. (Dunfermline Press, 13 April 2018)

13 April: A 15-year-old Gloucester boy has his current four-month referral order increased by another eight months for committing five more offences, one of which was racially aggravated when he called a man a ‘Polish c**t’ and threw a concrete block through the windscreen of his car. His mother is ordered to pay compensation. (Gloucestershire Live, 15 April 2018)

15 April: Simon Needs, 41, is jailed for fifty-six days and ordered to pay £100 compensation for the ‘appalling racial abuse’ of a man in Southampton, in December 2017. (Daily Echo, 15 April 2018)

Miscellaneous

15 April: A plaque is unveiled in New Cross for George Arthur Roberts, one of the first black firefighters in London, who was awarded a medal for his bravery in the Battle of the Somme. (This is Local London, 17 April 2018)

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April: Corporate Watch, a not-for-profit co-operative which has provided investigative research on corporations and capitalism since 1996, is hiring a freelance fundraiser to work on a temporary basis, for one day a week (7.5 hours) for three months. See here for further information.

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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