Violent protests erupt in Brazil after Black man’s death

Ashley Terrell
·3 min read

Protesters carried signs that read ‘Vidas Negras Importam’ which translates to ‘Black Lives Matter’

Protests broke out in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on Friday morning, after news of a Black man being beaten to death by supermarket security guards. The incident was captured on video.

The Associated Press reported the man died Thursday, the eve of Black Consciousness Day, a day observed in celebration of the Black community in Brazil.

Read More: South African police use tear gas on protest over race

A video clip showed one of the security guards restraining João Alberto Silveira Freitas outside the doors of the Carrefour supermarket while another repeatedly hit him with violent blows to the face.

The incident was captured by a store employee and showed one guard kneeling on the 40-year-old’s back.

The killing occurred after a store employee called security after Freitas threatened to attack her, as reported by GloboNews according to Reuters.

Protesters carried signs that read “vidas negras importam” translating to “Black Lives Matter.” Others smashed the windows with rocks, stormed inside, destroyed shelves and set fires, forcing the store to close.

Alexandre Bompard, chairman and CEO of Carrefour, reacted in a series of tweets on Friday saying that news of the killing was “unbearable.”

“Internal measures have immediately been implemented by the Carrefour Brazil, notably towards the security company involved. These measures do not go far enough. My values, and the values of Carrefour do not allow for racism and violence,” Bompard said. “I have asked the teams of Carrefour Brazil to fully cooperate with judicial authorities to get to the bottom of this odious action,” he said.

Read More: Brazil’s President Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19

Brazil’s vice president, Hamilton Mourão, acknowledged Freitas’s death, but denied racism during a conversation with local reporters.

“Racism doesn’t exist in Brazil. That is something they want to import here. I lived in the United States. There is racism there,” he said.

Journalist Jill Langlois who resides in Brazil tweeted “a young black person is murdered every 21 minutes in Brazil,” along with statistics from Forum Seguranca.

On Twitter, Movement 4 Black Lives tweeted their support in solidarity with the protesters and called for the boycott of Carrefour.

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