Brazil: indignation after the death of a black beaten by security guards

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The death, Thursday evening, of a black man beaten by white security guards in a supermarket of the Carrefour group in Porto Alegre (south) triggered a wave of indignation in Brazil, in the middle of Black Conscience Day celebrated on Friday in the country.

A thousand protesters marched through downtown Sao Paulo to a group store in the Jardim Paulista neighborhood. Some of them threw stones against the glass facade and invaded the establishment, destroying or setting fire to goods, windows and other installations, according to an AFP photographer.

Carrefour's hands are stained with black blood, could one read on one of the banners waved by demonstrators.

In Porto Alegre, where the victim succumbed to violence by security agents, police dispersed a demonstration with tear gas and stun grenades, according to local television. Carrefour, he can close, he killed our brother, it cannot continue!chanted dozens of young people wearing banners and masks with the slogan Black Lives Matter.

Demonstrations also took place in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, where a group prevented customers from arriving at checkouts.

The incident, which outraged the country, took place on Thursday evening: a video recorded by a witness, circulated by the media and on social networks, shows the moment when Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, 40, is struck multiple times fist in the face by one of the officers while the other held him down.

In other images, we see the emergency services performing a cardiac massage to the man lying in front of a supermarket entrance and who died on the spot. According to military police, Mr. Freitas threatened a supermarket worker, who called security officers.

The two attackers were arrested. One of them is a military policeman who works for the private security company outside of his working hours.

Protesters storm a Carrefour supermarket in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Protesters storm a Carrefour supermarket in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Photo: Getty Images / NELSON ALMEIDA

A friend of the victim who witnessed the beating told news portal G1 that, while being beaten, Silveira Freitas shouted he couldn't breathe anymore, a line that evokes the death of George Floyd, an African-American man suffocated to death by police in May in Minneapolis, United States, a murder that shocked the world and sparked mass mobilisations across the country.

The Brazilian subsidiary of the Carrefour group regretted the sudden death from Mr. Freitas and stated that she would take the appropriate measures to hold those involved in this criminal case accountable.

In a series of tweets in Portuguese, the French boss of Carrefour, Alexandre Bompard, expressed his condolences after this horrible act and believed that the images posted on social networks were unbearable.

Internal measures were immediately taken by the Carrefour Brazil Group, mainly concerning the contracted security company. These measures are insufficient. My values ​​and the values ​​of Carrefour do not align with racism and violence, he wrote.

Mr. Bompard also asked a complete review of training actions for employees and subcontractors, in terms of safety, respect for diversity and the values ​​of respect and rejection of intolerance.

Looks like there is no way out. Even on the day of black consciousness lamented Richarlison, Métis striker of the Seleçao who evolves in Everton, in the Football Championship of England.

They beat a black man to death in front of the cameras. Violence and hatred have lost all modesty, he added, calling out the names of Brazilians Joao Pedro, 14, and Evaldo Santos, a 51-year-old musician, as well as that of George Floyd, referring to other black men who died as a result of police violence .

Read also :

  • Black Lives Matter: From hashtag to planetary movement
  • Dozens of people demonstrate in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Ottawa
  • Brazil: the IACHR "worried" by Bolsonaro's "hate speech"

On the other hand, the Brazilian vice-president, Hamilton Mourao, assured that it was not a racist act, while calling it regrettable the murder perpetrated, according to him, by a security guard unprepared for the activity. For me, in Brazil, there is no racism. It's something they want to import here in Brazil. It doesn't exist here, said the retired general.

For his part, President Jair Bolsonaro, without mentioning the death of Silveira Freitas, claimed on Twitter that the country's problems go beyond racial issues and that the great evil from Brazil continues to be moral, social and political corruption.

As president, I am color blind: they are all the same color. There is no better skin color than the others. There are good men and there are bad men, proclaimed the far-right president.

Brazil is the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888. More than half of the 212 million inhabitants are black or mixed race.

According to'Atlas of violence published last August, the number of murders of blacks increased by 11.5% between 2008 and 2018, while among non-blacks it decreased by 12.9%.

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