Calendar of racism and resistance (8 – 21 November)
November 22, 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
Asylum and migrant rights
8 November: A total of six EU states, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Croatia, have so far refused to sign the UN’s non-binding Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. (Deutsche Welle, 8 November)
10 November: At least 20,000 people, chanting ‘we are all illegals’ and coming together under the slogan #indivisibili (indivisible), march in Rome against the government’s security and migration decree and the ‘growing climate of hatred’ in Italy. (Al Jazeera, 10 November 2018)
13 November: An investigation by the Independent reveals that asylum seekers attending compulsory reporting sessions with the Home Office are forced to travel a five-hour journey each week, costing them up to three-quarters of their weekly allowance. (Independent, 13 November 2018)
13 November: Around 150 remaining residents of the Baobab camp, an informal refugee camp close to one of Rome’s train station, are evicted by the police and with only 65 people relocated, many now have nowhere to go as winter sets in. (Al Jazeera, 13 November 2018)
14 November: The chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee accuses the Foreign Office of allowing government asylum policy to be dictated to by a mob after it emerges that it urged the Home Office not to grant asylum to Asia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan, due to fears for the safety of UK consular staff. (Guardian, 14 November 2018)
19 November: Seventy-seven people, rescued by a cargo ship while trying to reach Italy but taken back to Libya, are refusing to leave the vessel docked at the port of Misrata, saying they want to reach Europe and would rather die than be taken back to a Libyan detention centre. (Al Jazeera, 19 November 2018)
Borders: violence and militarisation
14 November: The Guardian obtains video footage that backs claims that Croatian police are beating migrants and refugees with truncheons and inflicting multiple injuries on them as they attempt to cross into the EU from the Bosnian cities of Bihac and Velika Kladusa. (Guardian, 14 November)
Reception and detention
8 November: The trial of thirty security guards, police officers, European Home Care administrators, municipal government employees and social workers accused of abusing refugees at an asylum-centre in Burbach, Germany, opens. A 155-page indictment details widespread systematic abuse and lays out the charges against the accused, which include grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty, coercion and theft. (Deutsche Welle, 8 November 2018)
9 November: The Home Office announces that, in response to the Shaw review into welfare of vulnerable people in detention, Campsfield House immigration removal centre in Oxfordshire will close by May 2019. The Campaign to Close Down Campsfield and End All Immigration Detention welcomes the ‘long overdue’ announcement, and remembers Ramazan Kamluca and Ianos Dragotan who died there in 2005 and 2011 respectively. (Gov.UK, Campsfield campaign press release, 9 November 2018)
20 November: A Guardian investigation reveals that child refugees are facing abuse, violence and malnutrition in a network of twenty-six Libyan detention centres part-funded by the British government. (Guardian, 20 November 2018).
12 November: Following a legal challenge by Migrants Right Network and Liberty, the Home Office scraps a memorandum of understanding which would have allowed for data-sharing between the Department of Health, NHS Digital, and the Home Office, with the data then used to track down patients believed to be in breach of immigration rules. (Guardian, 12 November 2018)
12 November: In a monthly report to the Home Affairs Select Committee, home secretary Sajid Javid reveals that it is now known that eleven of the eighty-three people wrongfully deported to the Caribbean died following deportation. The government had previously acknowledged three Windrush generation deaths. Read a Home Office update here. (Guardian, 12 November)
14 November: Kweku Adoboli, a junior banker convicted of fraud while working at USB, who has already served a prison sentence, has been deported to Ghana despite having come to the UK at the age of twelve. (Guardian, 14 November 2018)
15 November: Lord Blunkett, home secretary in Blair’s Labour government (2001 – 2004), admits to a parliamentary Human Rights Committee that he ordered home office staff to ‘up removals’ to satisfy the anti-immigrant press. (The Independent, 15 November 2018)
16 November: The Home Office, under pressure from the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, revises its methodology for calculating the number of the Windrush generation wrongly deported or detained. Officials now admit that they misclassified a number of affected people as criminals and excluded them from the official tally of 164. (Guardian, 16 November 2018).
Crimes of solidarity
9 November: In France, the trial of the ‘Briancon 7’, accused of ‘aiding illegal entry’ of migrants as ‘part of an organised gang’ during a demonstration in April 2018 against a Generation Identitaire anti-migrant militia, ends with the accused receiving suspended prison sentences ranging from six to twelve months. (Le Monde, 9 November 2018)
20 November: Twenty-four people connected to the migrant rescue ship Aquarius, including its captain and the deputy head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium, are placed under investigation in Italy for ‘trafficking and illegal management of waste’. The National Aids Trust condemns the Sicilian prosecutor’s claim that clothes worn by rescued migrants could have been contaminated by HIV, meningitis and tuberculosis, for perpetuating ‘myths about HIV and infectious conditions’ and ‘stigmatising’ both ‘people living with HIV and migrants fleeing hardship’. (Guardian, 20 November 2018)
13 November: Victims of the Windrush scandal criticise the length and complexity of the consultation for the government’s proposed compensation scheme, pointing out that many people are facing destitution for want of financial aid. (Guardian, 13 November 2018)
Police and criminal justice system
8 November: The inquest into the death of Adrian McDonald who died in 2014 after being tasered by Staffordshire police and bitten by a police dog opens in Stoke-on-Trent with his family criticising the long delay in securing a hearing. (Inquest, 8 November 2018).
9 November: The Information Commissioner launches an inquiry after the Metropolitan police admit that the names of young people on its Gangs Matrix had been shared online on social media with the data breach carried out by an ‘unknown professional’ working in Newham. (Evening Standard, 9 November 2018)
12 November: Junior Home Office minister Nick Hurd denies a Guardian report suggesting that the government is set to change the ‘reasonable grounds’ requirement to stop and search but confirms that the government has plans to help police use stop and search more efficiently. (Guardian, 12 November 2018)
16 November: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issues an enforcement notice against the Metropolitan police, finding that the Gangs Matrix breaches data protection laws, fails to distinguish between victims of crime and offenders, and potentially causes damage and distress to a disproportionate number of young black men. (Guardian, 16 November 2018)
19 November: The inquest into the death of Jamal Mohamoud, 21, who was fatally attacked by prisoners at HMP Pentonville on 16 October 2016, opens. (Inquest, 18 November 2018)
19 November: The inquest into the death of Branko Zdravkovic, who in April 2017 was found hanging in the Verne immigration detention centre in Dorset where he was facing removal, opens. (Inquest press release, 19 November 2018)
19 November: A police misconduct hearing, expected to last five weeks, opens at Sutton Coldfield police station against three West Midlands police officers accused of giving false or misleading accounts of events, including the inappropriate use of force, leading up to the death of Kingsley Burrell in March 2011. (Birmingham Live, 19 November 2018).
Anti-fascism and the far Right
8 November: A Polish court overrules a ban on far-right groups marching in the capital on annual Polish independence day, that was initiated by Warsaw’s mayor on the grounds that the threat posed by ‘aggressive nationalism’. (Deutsche Welle, 9 November 2018).
9 November: As events are held across Germany to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht anti-Semitic pogrom of 1938, historian Wolfgang Benz draws parallels with events earlier this year in the eastern city of Chemnitz and discusses the rise of Alternative for Germany (AfD), pointing out that Hitler ‘began his career as a ‘populist’. (Deutsche Welle, 9 November 2018)
9 November: The far-right movement ‘We are for Germany’ demonstrate in Berlin on the eightieth anniversary of Kristallnacht after a court lifts a ban on the protest on the grounds that it poses no threat to public order. (Deutsche Welle, 9 November 2018)
9 November: PayPal bans Tommy Robinson, stating that the company does not allow its services to ‘be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory’. (Guardian, 9 November 2018).
9 November: A package containing white powder and addressed to judge Geoffrey Marson, who previously jailed Tommy Robinson, is delivered to Leeds Crown Court. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 9 November 2018)
11 November: The Polish president Andrzej Duda addresses the 200,000-strong March of Independence organised by nationalist and far-right groups and attended by the National-Radical Camp (ONR), the successor to a pre-war Polish fascist movement, and Italian neo-fascists from Forza Nuova. (Guardian, 11 November 2018)
13 November: Birmingham crown court finds Oxfordshire couple Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas guilty of being members of National Action, a far-right terrorist organisation banned in 2016. Daniel Bogunovic, from Leicester, is also convicted of membership of National Action. (Guardian, 13 April 2018)
13 November: As reporting restrictions were lifted following the verdict in the Birmingham crown court, it emerges that Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen, a British army veteran who served in Afghanistan who was jailed for eight years in March, was a recruiter for National Action and a key part of its strategy to expand its membership with the armed forces. (Guardian, 13 November 2018).
16 November: Former Donald Trump strategist and Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon is escorted to the Oxford Union by riot police after around 1,000 protestors demonstrate against his speech at the union. (Mirror, 16 November 2018)
17 November: Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in London in a unity march against the rise of the far Right and and to mark Islamophobia awareness week. (Morning Star, 18 November 2018).
20 November: The Home Affairs Select Commitee writes to Facebook and Twitter asking why a video promoting National Action has not been taken down, and seeks clarification on the training that moderators receive on identifying content relating to banned UK terrorist organisations and far-right material. (Guardian, 20 November 2018)
7 November: Conservative Birmingham Solihull councillor Jess Potts has been readmitted into the party after being suspended for sharing tweets calling for the deportation of all Muslims and for describing ‘Pakistani hospitality’ as ‘having a daughter raped by men who think she’s “white trash”’. (Birminmgham Live, 7 November 2018)
18 November: Cornwall Conservative MP Derek Thomas refers racist leaflets inflaming hatred of ‘non-white migrants’, to the police. The leaflets, which claimed that ‘mixed-race worker drones’ are replacing Europeans, were handed out before a public meeting Thomas organised on Brexit in Helston. (BBC News, 18 November 2018)
Media and culture
9 November: Roma community worker and former police officer Peter Torák criticises the Guardian for falsely claiming in an article that tensions between Roma and Pakistanis across England are on the rise. The article by Helen Pidd has also reinforced racist media frameworks in the Czech Republic, he says. (Romea.cz, 9 November 2018)
12 November: More than 700 organisations, individuals, journalists and public figures in Croatia sign an open letter, criticising the media’s ‘one-sided’ and ‘dishonest’ reporting about migrants and refugees which they say is fuelling a rise in hate crimes. (Balkan Insight, 12 November 2018)
14 November: In response to an article in the New York Times revealing that Facebook hired a US Republican research firm to stir up animus towards George Soros, the Open Society Foundations calls for a through and independent inquiry into Facebook’s lobbying and PR work. (Open Society Foundation, 14 November 2018).
14 November: The Majority Perspective Foundation, representing people of African descent in the Netherlands, loses its legal challenge to get ‘all racist characteristics’, such as curly hair, red lips and black face make-up, removed from Santa Claus’ helper Zwarte Piet. (Dutch News, 14 November 2018)
Employment and labour exploitation
16 November: The families of five Spanish-African migrants who died in July 2016 after a concrete wall collapsed on them at the Hawkeswood Metal Recyling company in Birmingham express disbelief after an inquest returns an accidental death verdict. The five men who died are Almamo Jammeh, Ousmane Diaby, Bangally Dukureh, Saibo Sillah and Mahamadou Jagana. (BBC News, 16 November 2018)
7 November: Controversy mounts over the appointment of controversial right-wing philosopher Roger Scruton as chair of the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission after it emerges that he described Jews in Budapest as forming part of a ‘Soros empire’ in 2014. (Guardian, 7 November 2018)
16 November: Six of ten rough sleepers who died in Redbridge this year were Indian men, prompting the Refuge and Migrant Forum of Essex and London to call for changes to the No Recourse to Public Funds rules. (Guardian, 16 November 2018)
9 November: The new chair of the Parole Board reveals that that none of its 240 members is black, a factor she puts down to unconscious bias. (BBC News, 9 November 2018).
9 November: An employment tribunal finds luxury goods group Richemont UK guilty of racial discrimination against an employee seeking promotion after displaying a ‘preference for white continental Europeans’. The company was also found guilty of using convert surveillance on the employee whilst she was on sick leave. (Drapers, 9 November 2018)
13 November: The UN Human Rights Council says that negative stereotypes about parents of African descent amongst Dutch social workers have resulted, in some cases, in children being forcibly removed from their parents and placed in care. (Dutch News, 13 November 2018)
8 November: Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football team admit that since 2013 its scouts outside Paris categorised promising young talent according to ethnicity (North African, French, African and West Indian) but denied that such illegal racial profiling was part of official club policy. (Al jazeera, 9 November 2018)
10 November: Greek TV sports commentator Takis Tsoukalas faces charges under anti-discrimination laws after describing black basketball player Thanasis Antetokoumpo on air as a ‘monkey’. (Ekathimerini, 15 November 2018)
10 November: The National Union of Black Students is amongst those criticising the University of Reading for categorising an essay on the ethics of socialist revolution by the late renowned University of Manchester academic Norman Geras as ‘security sensitive’ under the government’s Prevent strategy. (Guardian, 10 November 2018)
6 November: Fouad Belkacem, a former leader of Sharia4Belgium currently in prison for membership of a terrorist organisation, launches an appeal against the decision to strip him of his Belgian nationality on the grounds of severe violations of his duties as a citizen. (Brussels Times, 6 November)
Racist violence and harassment
Abuse and harassment
15 November: Police appeal for information after footage showing a man racially abusing a Chinese couple on a train from London to Bristol went viral. (BBC News, 15 November 2018)
16 November: North Yorkshire Police apologise to Uber driver Mohammed Shafaq after the man who racially abused him whilst he was driving his taxi in York was only given a caution, which ‘was not a robust punishment for a hate crime’. The case has been reopened and Mr. Shafaq has been invited to make a formal complaint. (York Press, 16 November 2018)
Attacks on people
5 November: Police appeal for information after a taxi driver was racially abused and assaulted, having his hair and beard pulled whilst driving, by a passenger in Grays, Essex. (Echo News, 5 November 2018)
9 November: Police are treating as racially motivated an arson attack on the home of a family of five in east Belfast. (Belfast Telegraph, 9 November 2018)
17 November: Police appeal for information after a man is racially abused, before being pushed to the floor and spat on, by another man in a car park in Wolvercote, Oxford. (Oxford Mail, 17 November 2018)
Attacks on property
5 November: Swastikas and neo-Nazi slogans are daubed on the wall of a house in Beverley, Yorkshire. (HullLive, 5 November 2018)
10 November: A swastika and graffiti reading ‘KKK’ are daubed on the side of an accommodation building on the University of Kent campus. (The Tab, 10 November 2018)
16 November: Anti-Roma graffiti is daubed on the wall of a pedestrian subway in Ballymena, County Antrim. (BBC News, 16 November 2018)
19 November: Swastikas are daubed on the wall of a community centre in Oxford before being removed by the council. (Oxford Mail, 19 November 2018)
Charges and convictions
6 November: John Lock, 28, is sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to racially aggravated criminal damage and racially aggravated threatening behaviour at a bar in Burmantofts, Leeds. (Yorkshire Evening Post, 6 November 2018)
9 November: John Reilly, 41, is sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after admitting racially aggravated assault causing actual bodily harm, with the sentence running consecutive to an existing conviction, for racially abusing and pouring boiling water into the eye of a fellow inmate at HMP Altcourse, Liverpool, whilst they were sleeping. (Liverpool Echo, 9 November 2018)
15 November: Joseph Brogan, 27, admits racially aggravated threatening behaviour and is jailed for six months after shouting antisemitic abuse and giving a Nazi salute at a rally against antisemitism in Manchester. (Metro, 15 November 2018)
15 November: Craig Douglas, 24, pleads guilty to assault and is jailed for eighteen months after racially abusing and attacking a shopkeeper, kicking and punching him and leaving him with a broken cheekbone and nose, outside the victim’s shop in Musselburgh, East Lothian. (East Lothian Courier, 15 November 2018)
16 November: Kane Powell, 20, pleads guilty to two counts of assault and another of causing racially aggravated fear/provocation of violence after repeatedly banging and kicking the door of a residential property whilst shouting racist abuse before assaulting a Pakistani man in Redruth, Cornwall. (Cornwall Live, 16 November 2018)
16 November: Two men are charged with religiously aggravated assault, after both men, along with a third unidentified suspect, allegedly racially abused, punched and kicked an Italian bartender, who the group mistook to be Muslim, at Canada Water underground station in London. (Daily Mail, 16 November 2018)
Thanks to Rajesh Bhattacherjee and Joseph Maggs for their help in preparing this calendar.
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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