Violence Erupts In Brazil After Black Man Beaten To Death At Supermarket

Cheryl Sanders
November 24, 2020

The funeral of a black man who died after being beaten by supermarket security guards in Brazil has been held following protests that echoed those of the racial justice movement in the United States.

Black and mixed-race men and women account for approximately 57 percent of Brazil's population but comprise 74 percent of sufferers of deadly violence, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, a non-governmental organization.

A short video captured by a store employee showed one guard restraining the man, Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, just outside of the supermarket.

News website G1 later reported that an initial analysis by the state forensics institute indicated the cause of death could be asphyxiation.

Carrefour published a statement lamenting Freitas'"barbarous death", and stated it will finish its arrangement with the security firm, fire the shop manager who had been on duty, and shut the Porto Alegre shop with respect for the sufferer.

In a series of tweets in Portuguese, the French head of Carrefour, Alexandre Bompard, expressed his condolences and said that the images posted on social media were "unacceptable".

"Internal measures have immediately been implemented by the Carrefour Group Brazil, principally on the question of security company contracts". These measures do not go far enough. "My values, and the values of Carrefour, do not allow for racism and violence", he wrote, calling for a complete review of employee training, diversity and intolerance.

Protesters reportedly handed out stickers depicting the Carrefour logo stained with blood and called for a boycott of the chain in Porto Alegre.

Dozens of protesters entered a Carrefour in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, on Friday morning, chanting "Black lives matter!"

The protest turned violent on Friday evening as the demonstrators smashed windows and delivery vehicles in the supermarket's parking area.

Inside another Carrefour in Rio de Janeiro, protesters shouted "Carrefour Killer" as a black man lay still atop the conveyor belt of a checkout.

20 November is honored in many parts of Brazil as Black Awareness Day. It was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888.

In Brazil, a country that boasts one of the largest populations of Black people in the world, about 80 percent of the citizens been killed by the country's police forces previous year were Black.

"This shows that racism is still very present in Brazil, not only in the supermarket, but also in the favelas", he added, referring to Rio's poor districts.

"We know how hard it is to raise awareness, because the enemies of the fight against racism are now in power", Matheus Gomes, a left-wing official elected last Sunday to the Porto Alegre legislative assembly, told AFP.

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