News Americas, BRASILIA, Brazil, Mon, Nov. 23, 2020: “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,” says Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress.
His comment come amid the killing of another Black man in Brazil, this time at a Carrefour Brasil supermarket in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.
More than 1,000 demonstrators attacked the on Friday after security guards beat the man, later identified as 40-year-old Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, to death.
The killing occurred after a store employee called security after the man threatened to attack her, cable news channel GloboNews said, citing the Rio Grande do Sul state military police.
News website G1 later reported that an initial analysis by the state forensics institute indicated the cause of death could be asphyxiation.
The killing sparked protest which turned violent on Friday evening as the demonstrators smashed windows and delivery vehicles in the supermarket’s parking area.
In Sao Paulo, dozens of protesters smashed the front windows of a Carrefour store with rocks, pulled off the front doors and stormed the building, spilling products into the aisles before dispersing. In Rio de Janeiro, roughly 200 shouting protesters gathered outside of another Carrefour store location.
In a statement on Friday, the local unit of France’s Carrefour SA said it deeply regretted what it called a brutal death and said it immediately took steps to ensure those responsible 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, the Chairman and CEO of Carrefour, Alexandre Bompard, said that the images posted on social media were “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.
He called for a complete review of employee and sub-contractors’ training on security, diversity and tolerance values.
“I have asked the teams of Carrefour Brazil to fully cooperate with judicial authorities to get to the bottom of this odious action,” he added.
Nov. 20th ironically is honored in many parts of Brazil as Black Awareness Day. Black Brazilians are almost three times as likely to be victims of homicide, according to 2019 government data.
(Reuters News contributed to this story.)