More protests in Brazil after black man killed by supermarket security guards

More protests in Brazil after black man killed by supermarket security guards”

Anti-racism protests have erupted in Brazil following the brutal killing of a Black man by two white security guards outside a Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre on 19 November.

A video taken Thursday night in the southern city of Porto Alegre showed 40-year-old welder Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas repeatedly being punched in the face and head by a security guard while he is being restrained by another at a Carrefour supermarket.

The men who beat Freitas, one of whom the military said was an off-duty military policeman, have been detained and are being investigated for homicide.

"Unfortunately, on this day in which we should be celebrating those public policies, we come across scenes that leaves us all indignant due to the excessive violence that caused the death of a Black citizen at the supermarket", he said.

In Brazil, the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery - in 1888 - around 55 percent of the population of 212 million identifies as black or mixed-race.

Brazilians have traditionally been taught that they live in a racial democracy - President Jair Bolsonaro denies racism exists - but activists say that perception is slowly changing.

In a series of tweets in Portuguese on Friday, Carrefour CEO Alexandre Bompard expressed his condolences over the "horrible act" and said that the images were "unbearable". On Friday, Carrefour announced that they would be terminating their contract with the company that provided the security guards, local media reported. "We don't have it here".

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Black British racecar driver Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time Formula 1 champion who has been hugely outspoken in his support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement, said in an Instagram story posted Saturday that he was "devastated" by the news of "another black life lost".

Reports said security had been called after a female worker at the supermarket had been threatened by a man. The security that the company had employed was previously accused of violence, predominately against Blacks.

A friend of the victim who witnessed the beating told G1 news that as the security guards were beating him, Mr Freitas "screamed that he could not breathe", a scene reminiscent of the USA death of George Floyd, a black man who died of asphyxiation as a white police officer kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis in May, a killing that sparked massive protests across the United States.

"The culture of hate and racism needs to be combated at its source and the full weight of the law should be used to punish those that promote hate and racism", Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, wrote in a tweet.

In August, a man died within a Carrefour in northeastern city Recife; his body was covered by umbrellas and the supermarket continued operating for several hours. Carrefour apologized in a statement also said it was shifting its protocols to shut places when deaths happen.

A security guard at a store in the state of Sao Paulo killed a street dog with a metal bar in 2018.

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