More than 1,000 protesters in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre attacked a Carrefour Brasil supermarket on Friday, after security guards beat up a black man at the store to kill him.
The cable news channel Globnews quoted the Rio Grande do Sul state police as saying that the murder, which sparked protests across Brazil, occurred late at night on Thursday when a store employee threatened to attack her.
Amateur footage of the fatal beating and tribute to the black victim was published on social media. He was identified in local media by his father as 40-year-old João Alberto Silvera Freitas.
The news website G1 later reported that a preliminary analysis by the state forensic institute indicated that the cause of death could be asphyxia.
In a statement on Friday, the local unit of Carrefour SA of France said it deeply regretted a brutal death and said immediate steps were taken to ensure those who were legally punished.
It said it would terminate the contract with the security firm, fire the employee in charge of the store at the time of the incident, and close the store as a mark of respect.
In a series of tweets in Portuguese on Friday night, Carrefour President and CEO Alexander Brempard said the images posted on social media were “unbearable.”
Bomard said, “Internal measures have been implemented immediately by Carrefour Brazil, particularly towards the security company involved. These measures do not go too far. My values, and Carrefour’s values do not allow racism and violence , “Said Bombard.
He called for a thorough review of the training of employees and subcontractors on safety, diversity and tolerance values.
“I have asked the teams of Carrefour Brazil to cooperate fully with the judicial authorities to get to the bottom of this petty action,” he said.
In Porto Alegre, protesters gave out stickers depicting the blood-soaked Carrefour logo on Friday afternoon and called for a boycott of the chain. He put up a banner in Portuguese reading “Black Lives Matter” and called for justice for Beto, a nickname for the victim.
The protest turned violent on Friday evening as protesters smashed windows and distribution vehicles in the parking area of the supermarket. A Reuters witness saw the police shed tears on the protesters.
In São Paulo, dozens of protesters smashed the front windows of a Carrefour store with rocks, locked the front doors and entered the building, dropping products in the streets before being dispersed. In Rio de Janeiro, about 200 scream protesters gathered outside another Carrefour store location.
20 November is celebrated as Black Awareness Day in many parts of Brazil. Brazilians like to think of their country as a harmonious ‘racial democracy’ and far-right President Zaire Bolonaro denies the presence of racism. But the effects of slavery that ended in 1888 are still evident.
According to 2019 government data, Black Brazilians are nearly three times more likely to be a murder victim.
Rodrigo Mia, speaker of the lower house of Congress of Brazil, wrote in a tweet, “The culture of hate and racism needs to be taken to its source and the full weight of the law should be used to punish those who hate and Promote racism. ” .