Calendar of racism and resistance (9 – 22 March 2018)

March 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

6 March: Jess Phillips MP reveals that a constituent was detained in Yarl’s Wood after reporting her violent husband who had threatened to kill her to the police. The woman was later released and given indefinite leave to remain. (Independent, 6 March 2018)

refcommkitchen6 March: Refugee Community Kitchen and other charities in Calais stop serving hot food for the first time in over two years, as local authorities have started fulfilling President Macron’s promise to provide food for homeless refugees. (Refugee Community Kitchen, 7 March 2018)

7 March: The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) publishes a briefing paper: Families Together Campaign, download it here.

8 March: Karim Ibrahim, a refugee of Sudanese and Eritrean origin who was granted the right to remain in France last year, is found dead on a Paris street, having apparently killed himself after receiving no psychiatric help for the traumas he had experienced. (Liberation, 12 March 2018)

8 March: EU interior ministers approve a pilot project for EUNAVFOR’s Operation Sophia to transmit details of migrants it rescues in the Mediterranean to Europol ‘for crime prevention, investigation and prosecution’, in a blurring of military and police roles. (EU Observer, 9 March 2018)

8 March: The numbers deported to Egypt on a charter flight from Frankfurt to Cairo are disputed, with Egypt claiming one hundred people were returned, while the German interior ministry only acknowledges nine deportees on a flight that included at least thirty police, doctors and interpreters. (ABC News, 8 March 2018)

9 March: Home Office officials detain 45-year-old Kenneth Oranyendu for deportation, knowing that his British wife is attending a funeral abroad, leaving his three young British children to be taken into care and his 17-year-old autistic son to be alone in the family home. The arrest breaches Home Office rules banning detention if it causes separation of families. (Guardian, 11 March 2018)

10 March: Benoit Ducos, a trained member of the ski patrol that provides emergency medical and rescue services in the Alps, is being prosecuted for helping a heavily pregnant woman, her husband and two children and two other men he found stranded in the mountains. If convicted, he could face five years in prison for transporting undocumented persons. (Infomigrants, 10 March 2018)

10 March: Over 10,000 people march in Florence in memory of Idy Diene, a Senegalese street vendor who was shot dead on the day of the Italian general election, and demand a thorough investigation. The police have ruled out a racist motive and say the killing was a random act by a mentally unstable man, but the African community strongly disagrees. (Sputnik News, 11 March 2018)paihlogo

11 March: Positive Action in Housing, a charity based in Scotland, claims that asylum seekers are being ‘intimidated’ and ‘harassed’ by housing officers who demand that they leave properties managed by private contractor Serco. (Herald, 11 March 2018)

12 March: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons publishes a report on an inspection of Harmondsworth detention centre which found torture survivors still detained for ‘excessively long’ periods in ‘prison-like’ conditions, with one man being held for over four and half years. Download the Report on an unannounced inspection of Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre Harmondsworth site, here. (Guardian, 13 March 2018)

13 March: Two Afghan asylum-seeking sisters and their three young children, living in Austria since 2016, are removed to Croatia, their point of entry into the EU, following a ruling from the European Court of Justice that Dublin rules apply even in emergency situations. (BBC News, 13 March 2018)

14 March: Theresa May promises to look into the case of ‘Albert Thompson’, a 63-year-old Londoner denied NHS cancer treatment as the Home Office disputes his eligibility to remain, despite having lived in the UK for forty-four years, after Jeremy Corbyn raises it at prime minister’s questions. (Guardian, 10, 15 March 2018)

14 March: Weeks before Hungary’s parliamentary elections, Syrian refugee Ahmed H is convicted of complicity in terrorism and illegal entry and sentenced to seven years imprisonment, for his involvement in a confrontation with police at the Serbian border in 2015. An earlier guilty verdict was set aside for irregularities. Human rights groups condemn the verdict as a dangerous travesty of justice. (Politico, 14 March 2018)

14 March: The Italian interior ministry announces the temporary closure of a refugee centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa, due to growing concerns from NGOs and civil society organisations about degrading conditions and lack of protection for woman and children at the centre. (Human Rights Watch, 14 March 2018)

know-your-rights15 March: Migrants’ Rights Network and other migrant rights groups publish Know Your Rights: A Guide for Migrants, to help migrants navigate the hostile environment. Download the guide here.

16 March: The Refugees Family Reunion Bill, a private member’s Bill to enable refugees in the UK to sponsor more family members to join them, passes its second reading in the House of Commons. (Hansard HC, 16 March 2018)

16 March: At a Budapest election rally three weeks before the Hungarian general election, prime minister Victor Orbán declares that Europe is ‘under invasion’, ‘Africa wants to kick down our door’, and vows to kick the philanthropist and financier George Soros out of the country. (Guardian, 16 March 2018)

17 March: An independent study by Refugee Rights Europe based on interviews with almost 300 refugees sleeping rough in Paris finds that 77 per cent experienced verbal abuse, mostly racial but also sexual, with a fifth suffering physical violence by Parisians. More than a third have faced police violence, with 86 per cent experiencing tear gas. (Guardian, 17 March 2018.

17 March: As part of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 1,000 people rally in Athens to protest the second anniversary of the EU-Turkey agreement aimed at closing the eastern Mediterranean route to Greece and sending back refugees. (Aljazeera, 17 March 2018).

17 March: An Irish Times investigation finds evidence that a number of refugees returned from Europe to government-held Syria have been arrested and tortured, and at least four have been killed. Three of these young men allegedly died in military prisons. (Aljazeera, 17 March 2018)end-deportations

19 March: The trial begins of fifteen activists, who stopped a charter deportation flight at Stansted airport and face charges under the Aviation Security Act. (ITV, 19 March 2018)

19 March: Following a crowdfunding campaign, the Home Office drops its attempt to deport two Durham University academics accused of breaching their tier 2 visa by being absent for too long from the UK, doing humanitarian work in Mexico building a DNA database to help locate missing victims of drug-cartel violence. (Independent, 19 March 2018)

20 March: BBC News reports on delays to a criminal case which leave a Vietnamese probable trafficking victim remanded in prison for over six months, because Home Office-approved Vietnamese interpreters are reluctant to travel to Northern Ireland. (BBC News, 20 March 2018)

21 March: Women held at Yarl’s Wood announce the end of their month-long hunger strike but say that ‘Hunger for Freedom protests and refusal to participate in their own detention is ongoing’. (Morning Star, 22 March 2018)

Policing and criminal justice

7 March: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) begins working with six police forces to examine hate crime cases following a significant reduction in prosecution and conviction rates. (Law Gazette, 7 March 2018)

8 March: In a written statement to parliament, foreign secretary Boris Johnson confirms that money from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund is to be used to finance the building of a new 112-bed wing of Kirikiri prison in Lagos, to transfer Nigerian inmates in UK jails under a prisoner transfer agreement signed in 2014. (Reuters, 8 March 2018)

Flowers at a vigil for Kevin Clarke

Flowers at a vigil for Kevin Clarke

9 March: Kevin Clarke, 35, dies in Lewisham after being restrained by up to nine police officers following a ‘mental health crisis’. (Guardian, 12 March 2018)

12 March: An employment tribunal hears allegations that investigators from the (now superseded) Independent Police Complaints Commission ‘frustrate, delay, restrict and close down investigations’ as ex-police officer Carol Howard, 39, begins a case against the organisation, alleging it is ‘riddled with corruption and discriminatory practices’. (Police Professional, 12 March 2018)

13 March: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announces that there is no ‘realistic prospect’ of convicting a Bedfordshire police officer following the death of Leon Briggs at Luton police station in 2013; the CPS is still considering the case against five others. (BBC News, 13 March 2018)LeonBriggs

14 March: On a routine inspection visit to HMP Inverness, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland finds that a Muslim prisoner was paired with a racist cellmate for two weeks. (Herald, 14 March 2018)

15 March: Migrants clash with police in central Madrid following the death of Mmame Mbage, a street vendor from Senegal, who they say was chased through the streets by police. An emergency services spokesperson says that Mbage, who died of a cardiac arrest, was found unconscious on the streets by a police patrol. (Guardian, 15 March 2018)

Jermaine Baker

Jermaine Baker

19 March: The CPS upholds its decision to bring no charges against the police officer involved in the shooting of Jermaine Baker in Wood Green in December 2015. The CPS carried out a review of the initial decision not to prosecute following an application for a Victims’ Right to Review (VRR). (BBC News, 19 March 2018)

21 March: Over sixty core participants and their lawyers walk out of the Undercover Police Inquiry, which is examining how BAME families and other activists were spied upon by the police in the ’80s and ’90s, calling for the replacement of the judge, Sir John Mitting, described by the lawyer representing campaigners as ‘the usual white, upper middle-class, elderly gentleman whose life experiences are a million miles away from those who were spied upon’. (Guardian, 21 March 2018)

22 March: The family of Sheku Bayoh, who died while restrained by officers in Kirkcaldy in May 2015, criticise the three year wait to find out if the Crown Office will charge the police officers involved. (BBC News, 22 March 2018)

Sheku Bayoh

Sheku Bayoh

Anti-fascism and the far Right

7 March: Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen are sentenced to eighteen and thirty-six weeks respectively for religiously aggravated harassment, for distributing leaflets and posting videos that ‘demonstrated hostility’ towards Muslims, and for their involvement in an incident at a Ramsgate takeaway, during which Fransen banged on the windows and doors, screaming ‘paedophile’ and ‘foreigner’. (Guardian, 8 March 2018; Kent Live, 8 March 2018)

8 March: In Saxony, Germany, the Dresden higher regional court convicts eight members of the neo-Nazi ‘Freital Group’ of terror-related crimes, including attempted murder and attacks on refugee shelters and political opponents, with sentences ranging from four to ten years. A police officer allegedly provided information to members of the neo-Nazi group about the location and duration of police patrols in the areas where they carried out attacks. (Deutsche Welle, 8 March 2018)

9 March: A police street crime unit, headed by a member of the far-right FPÖ (which controls the Austrian interior ministry) carries out a series of raids on the offices and staff of the BVT domestic intelligence service agency. The home of a BVT official in charge of a unit specialising in ‘extremism’ is raided and a hard drive containing information on organisations, including right-wing fraternities close to the FPÖ, is seized. (Reuters, 9 March 2018)

10 March: In Greece, seven members of the Combat 18 Hellas group are charged with running a criminal organisation and carrying out more than thirty attacks, chiefly aimed at Jewish memorials and anarchist squats. (Ekathemerini, 10 March 2018)

10 March: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former adviser, addresses the French far-right Front National party conference in Lille. (Guardian, 10 March 2018)

12 March: Stephen Yaxley Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, claims he was beaten up by anti-fascists at a McDonalds in Haringey, and releases a video of the fight. (Independent, 12 March 2018)

13 March: A trial in Birmingham hears that serving soldier Mikko Vehvilainen, Private Mark Barrett and an unnamed man are ‘active’ in the banned National Action group and allegedly kept a ‘terror manual by Anders Breivik’. (Birmingham Live, 13 March 2018)

14 March: In the space of a week, the home secretary bans three Alternative-Right activists from entering the UK on the grounds that their presence is not conducive to the public good. Austrian national Martin Sellner and far-right Canadian activist Lauren Southern are refused entry at Calais and questioned under anti-terrorism legislation, and American Brittany Pettibone is refused entry at Luton airport. (Free Movement, 14 March 2018)

facebook-logo14 March: Facebook bans the pages of Britain First and its leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, after they ignored a final warning for posting material that broke community standards. (BBC News, 14 March 2018)

14 March: Paul Golding, 36, allegedly has his nose broken during an attack in HMP Elmley. (Daily Mirror, 15 March 2018)

18 March: It is announced that a Football Lads Alliance (FLA) demonstration is due to take place in Birmingham on 24 March, with speeches from ex-Ukip candidate Anne-Marie Waters and Luke Nash-Jones of Make Britain Great Again. (Birmingham Mail, 18 March 2018)

Education 

9 March: Philip Headley, a teacher at a private school, is banned from teaching after using racist language in front of and about pupils. (Guardian, 9 March 2018)

13 March: Parents at a Somerset school protest when they are told that in January, a number of pupils chained a black student to a lamp-post, racially abused him and whipped him with sticks in a mock ‘slave auction’, but that governors reversed a head’s decision to expel three alleged perpetrators. (Somerset Live, 14 March 2018)

Employment and labour exploitation

9 March: The Chair of the Institute of Directors Barbara Judge resigns, as do two senior directors, due to allegations that the organisation failed to conduct a proper investigation into allegations of racism and bullying. (Guardian, 9 March 2018)

19 March: Theresa May announces that £90 million taken from dormant bank accounts will go towards ‘tackling inequalities in youth unemployment and helping disadvantaged young people get into work’, following the publication of the Race Disparity Audit in October 2017. (Independent, 19 March 2018)

21 March: An employment tribunal awards an unnamed workman £16,000 compensation after he was racially abused by a Sandwell Council supervisor on a job. (Express and Star, 21 March 2018)

Healthcounter-terrorism-in-the-nhs

19 March: A Warwick University survey of 329 NHS staff on Prevent counter-terrorism measures finds that four NHS mental health trusts are subjecting patients to blanket screening for radicalisation, with some referred to the Prevent programme for watching Arabic TV or going on pilgrimage to Mecca. Download the report here. (Guardian, 19 March 2018)

Housing

outofsightoutofmind6 March: The Human Rights Commission in Northern Ireland finds that some sites for Travellers in Northern Ireland do not provide adequate services such as electricity, water, heating, drainage, or waste disposal. Download the report, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Travellers’ Accommodation in Northern Ireland, here. (24Housing, 6 March 2018)

9 March: Leilani Farha, the UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, raises concerns that international human rights standards on housing safety may have been breached because residents of social housing were treated as ‘counting less’, which could have been a factor in the causes of the Grenfell Tower fire. (24Housing, 9 March 2018)

13 March: Fourteen members of a Traveller family are banned from entering Solihull after the Solihull council wins a High Court injunction. (Birmingham Mail, 14 March 2018)

19 March: A Traveller family in Nyewood, Sussex finally gets planning permission for a site to live on after many years of legal wrangling, during which then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles intervened to reject the application. (Chichester Observer, 19 March 2018)

Discrimination

12 March: Fatima Rajina accuses Côte Brasserie in Welwyn Garden City of racism after being refused a table despite there being several empty tables, then being offered one when she rang the restaurant using a ‘white’ accent. (Hertfordshire Mercury, 11 March 2018)

Media

7 March: The Bristol Post apologises for a 1996 cover which included the pictures of sixteen black men with the headline ‘Faces of Evil’. (Guardian, 7 March 2018, Bristol Post, 7 March 2018)

9 March: The ‘Black Night’, a ball with a ‘blackface theme’ that has taken place for the past five years at the carnival of Dunkirk, is allowed to continue after a case against it was dismissed by the town’s administrative court. (Liberation, 9 March 2018)

12 March: A critically acclaimed play on the ‘Jungle’ in Calais is to transfer to the West End. (Guardian, 12 March 2018)

National securitythe-globalisation-of-countering-violent-extremism-policies

6 March: The Transnational Institute (TNI) publishes a report by Arun Kundnani and Ben Hayes: The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policies: undermining human rights, instrumentalising civil society, download the report here.

8 March: The Home Office publishes a Statistical Bulletin: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation: Arrests, outcomes, and stop and search, Great Britain, quarterly update to December 2017, download the bulletin here. 

Party politics

7 March: Facebook removes a campaign video posted by Janos Lazar, a senior Fidesz minister in the Hungarian government, in which he portrays ‘white Christian’ Austrians as living in fear of Muslim immigrants. (EU Observer, 7 March 2018)

19 March: Ukip is facing bankruptcy after being presented with a £175,000 legal bill for a libel action involving three Labour MPs. (Guardian, 19 March 2018) 

22 March: The Labour party investigates further allegations of racist behaviour by Dumfries and Galloway Labour councillor Jim Dempster, who is alleged to have made Islamophobic comments about Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf and called a 6-year-old Muslim child a ‘chocolate monkey’. (Daily Record, 22 March 2018)

Sport

kick-it-out17 March: Kick It Out criticise UEFA’s decision to drop its investigation into an incident of alleged racist abuse against Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster by Spartak Moscow player Leonid Mironov. (Guardian, 7 March 2018)

17 March: A football match between Peterborough and Rippingale & Folkingham is halted due to allegations of racist abuse and intimidation of the referee. (Peterborough Today, 20 March 2018)

21 March: In an investigation of racial hatred in London football, ITV News reports that over forty players have had abuse directed at them, with players suffering racial hatred from the Premier League down to the grassroots, and 57 per cent believing that it is not taken seriously by football authorities. (ITV, 21 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on people 

5 March: Three people are arrested following a fight outside a Stoke-on-Trent shop, where two shop workers are injured, racially abused and threatened with a knife. (Stoke Sentinel, 9 March 2018)

9 March: Police appeal for information after a woman with her child in a pram was pushed to the ground and racially abused by a man on Chiltern Hill in Chalfont St Peter. (Metro, 9 March 2018)

12 March: Avon and Somerset Police release CCTV images of a man wanted in connection with two racially aggravated attacks at Kongs bar, Bristol. One man was racially abused and another man had a pint glass smashed over his head when he challenged the perpetrator, suffering a ‘substantial’ head wound. (Bristol Post, 12 March 2018)

12 March: Police release CCTV images showing a man racially abusing and spitting on a worker at a Chinese takeaway in Milton Keynes. The man also punched and smashed a glass door. (Milton Keynes Citizen, 19 March 2018)

13 March: Four Muslim MPs are sent suspicious packages over two days, containing what police describe as a ‘low-level noxious’ substance, along with a ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letter advocating violent acts against Muslims. (Guardian, 13 March 2018)

19 March: As 150 people attend a vigil for 18-year-old Egyptian student Mariam Moustafa, who died in Nottingham on 14 March, three weeks after being attacked by six women, police say her death was ‘not hate-related’. Prosecutors in Rome, where the victim was born, continue investigating the death. (BBC News, 18 March 2018, Guardian, 19 March 2018)

20 March: Police appeal for information on a white 25- to 35-year-old man who racially abused and spat at another driver in Redditch. (Redditch Advertiser, 20 March 2018)

21 March: A woman is racially abused and head-butted by three men on a train between Glasgow Central and Paisley Canal on 14 March. Police are appealing for the victim to come forward and for information on the three assailants. (Glasgow Live, 21 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on religious institutions

11 March: A mosque in Berlin and a Turkish community centre in western Germany are set on fire by masked assailants, the latest in a string of attacks on the Turkish community in Germany. (Al jazeera, 11 March 2018; The Local, 12 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: attacks on property

16 March: Racist graffiti and posters appear in the Grangetown area of Cardiff, the day before an anti-racism march in the city. (Wales Online, 16 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: online racism

20 March: Mark Meechan, 30, is found guilty of communicating a ‘grossly offensive’ video in which he filmed a dog doing Nazi salutes that has been viewed over three million times. Sentencing is deferred until 23 April. (Herald, 20 March 2018)

20 March: Five Exeter University students involved in Bracton Law Society are suspended after racist messages on a WhatsApp group were shared online. (The Tab, 20 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: abuse

7 March: Two men are arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences after a student at Nottingham Trent University posts a video in which a group of men can be heard chanting ‘we hate the blacks’ and ‘sign the Brexit papers’ at a hall of residence. The university, criticised for its slow response, suspends the suspected perpetrators pending a full investigation. (Guardian, 7 March 2018)

10 March: People in Bradford, London, Sheffield, Leicester and Cardiff receive ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters in the post, which incite the recipient to attack Muslims on 3 April, rewarding points for different types of attacks. (Guardian, 11 March 2018)

15 March: Thames Valley Police reveal that they have removed racist posters which were put up around Bourton Meadow Park in Buckingham. (Mix96, 15 March 2018)

18 March: British Transport Police begin an investigation after video footage is published on Twitter which shows a couple, believed to be Asian, being racially abused on a train service from Stratford to Romford, and a young white man intervening to challenge the abuse. (Daily Mirror, 21 March 2018)

16 March: A De Montfort University student who claimed she was racially abused is herself suspended after those she accused also accuse her of ‘abusive and offensive’ language. (Leicester Mercury, 16 March 2018)

20 March: A supply teacher of Chinese origin alleges that pupils in a Year 5 class at Harris Academy Benson in Shirley called her a ‘c****y’. The teacher was sent home by the head teacher who refutes her version of events. (This is Local London, 20 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: convictions

5 March: Michael ‘Cabbage’ Patton, 28, is jailed for eleven weeks for committing a racially aggravated attack in Kirton, Lincolnshire. (Boston Standard, 5 March 2018)

6 March: David Collins, 35, is sentenced to fourteen weeks in prison for racially abusing the staff of a Cirencester off-licence. (Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 9 March 2018)

7 March: Melissa, a young woman who was physically assaulted in a Normandy shopping centre whilst wearing a niqab, wins her appeal court case. Her aggressor is found guilty of acts of aggression and is fined €300. (CCIF, 7 March 2018)

8 March: Stephen Dugdale, 59, is jailed for sixteen weeks after pleading guilty to racially aggravated threatening behaviour towards a member of staff on a train service from Darwen to Clitheroe. (Lancashire Telegraph, 8 March 2018)

12 March: Following two trials, six people are sentenced for their part in a vicious racist attack on Reker Ahmed, a 17-year-old asylum seeker, which left him with fractures of the spine and skull, and a bleed on the brain. James Neves, 22, is sentenced to twenty-eight months for violent disorder; George Jeffrey, 21, Ben Harman, 21, and George Walder, 23, are sentenced to fifty months for two counts of violent disorder; Liam Neylon, 19, is sentenced to fifty months in a young offenders’ institution for two counts of violent disorder; Kurt Killick, 18, is sentenced to forty months in a young offenders’ institution for two counts of violent disorder and earlier in the month, Millie Walder, 18, was given a twelve-month community order for affray. (Croydon Advertiser, 5, 12 March 2018)

12 March: Mark Powell, 58, is given a suspended eight week custodial sentence and a two-year restraining order, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs, for racially abusing his Hungarian neighbours in Chesterfield, whom he threatened and told to ‘go home’. (Derbyshire Times, 12 March 2018)

15 March: Diana Dollar, 72, is fined £245, given a twelve month restraining order and ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs for racially aggravated threatening behaviour after telling her neighbour to ‘F*** off back to Lithuania’. (Somerset Live, 15 March 2018)

15 March: Ex-SNP Dundee councillor Craig Melville, is found guilty of sending racist text messages to a Muslim colleague and is fined £1,000. (Evening Telegraph, 15 March 2018)

20 March: Jay Davidson, 24, admits racially abusing an Aberdeen shopkeeper and threatening to ‘smash’ his face in, and is fined £500. (Evening Express, 20 March 2018)

20 March: Katherine Robinson, 23, is convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence and a public order offence aggravated by homophobic abuse for the ‘worst racial abuse’ against a Liverpool Street station worker, whom she head-butted in the chest. She is sentenced to an eighteen week suspended jail sentence and given a Criminal Behaviour Order. (East London Advertiser, 20 March 2018)

Violence and harassment: research and statistics

14 March: New figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Kings Cross underground station is the worst underground station for racial abuse, with Oxford Circus second. (Evening Standard, 14 March 2018)

19 March: A National Union of Students survey finds that one-third of Muslim students in the UK ‘experience crime or abuse’ at their place of study. (Guardian, 19 March 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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