25 years ago, on the night of June 10 and the morning of the following day, Lisbon was “swept” by a group of skinheads. With extreme violence, they went out to beat blacks. More than ten people ended up in the hospital with serious injuries. One of the victims did not resist. His name was Alcindo Monteiro, he was 27 years old and he was from Cape Verde. Today, his murder remains one of the most infamous crimes in Portuguese democracy. He was beaten to death just having a different skin color, on Portugal day, by a group and men, all young, nationalists and racists.
Alcindo was found senseless on Rua Garrett, in Chiado. He had been beaten so badly that his slight body gave way. He suffered hemorrhages, traumatic craniocerebral injuries and fractures. He died on June 11 in the early hours of the morning. He left Barreiro, where he lived, to go dancing in Lisbon. There was animation in Lisbon. Sporting had won the Portuguese Cup that day, against Marítimo, and Santos Populares were already moving.
His destiny was traced when he crossed with the group of skinheads. Nine of them were identified the very next day. The way they acted meant that there was no doubt about who they were and what their motivations were: shaved hair, jeans, black t-shirts and jackets, steel toecap boots. In the following months, ten more individuals would be detained. Of the initial group of suspects, two were military – Mário Machado was in the Portuguese Air Force and another was an army soldier. Machado is the well-known leader of skins in Portugal, from youth to the present. He led fascist movements such as the National Action Movement and the New Social Order. He has already been sentenced to prison terms for several crimes, including in this case, but he did not participate in the attack on Alcindo and was punished for assaulting five other Africans on the same night.
“The racist aspect is always present”
The court that would later judge them proved that they were racist, as it reads in the judgment: “The defendants are linked to the” Skinheads “movement in Portugal. This group of people have in common the cult of certain ideas – nationalism and racism – with which, in a more or less internalized way, they sympathize. They exalt nationalism, fascism and Nazism. Salazar and his regime are seen as a model to follow. The racist aspect is always present. They appeal to the superiority of the white race considering the black race as a lower race. In general terms, according to a policy they call “racialism” they do not allow the mixing of races; they are against the immigration to Portugal of black individuals, namely those from the former colonies. They defend the expulsion from the national territory of all individuals of black race and in order to achieve this end and in the name of the “Nation” and the “superiority of the white race”, all aggressions against this group of individuals are legitimate. “
On the night of June 1995, on Rua Garrett, the victim was a Portuguese. Alcindo Monteiro was born on October 1, 1967, in the city of Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, in Cape Verde. The family emigrated to Barreiro in 1978 was 11 years old and at a time when Cape Verde was already independent. Alcindo returned to have a Portuguese Identity Card in 1991. He worked in an auto mechanic workshop and in his spare time he liked to take care of his parakeets, cook and dance. He was a citizen with a clean record.
For his attackers, this was not relevant. The nationalists had dined in Cacilhas, at a meeting of various skin elements and which aimed to celebrate the 10th of June, Portugal Day and Race Day. When they met Alcindo, they only saw one more “black”. There were punches, kicks and aggression with a cement block on the head.
Convicted 17, eleven for murder
17 defendants were identified to be tried for a crime of homicide and 10 corporal offenses – they were even accused of genocide but the MP ended up dropping this crime. On January 31, 1997, at the Monsanto court, the trial began in which 84 witnesses were heard. One of the defendants, José Lameiras, turned out to be essential in telling everything, which made it possible to reconstruct the events.
Eleven of the accused were sentenced to heavy sentences, involving the murder. They were punished with imprisonment, sentences between 16 ½ years and 18 years. The rest, including Mário Machado, were convicted of aggression, sentenced to between three and a half years and four years and nine months. The court ruled that the convicts should pay Alcindo’s family 18 billion escudos. They were never paid.
In the final judgment of the Supreme Court of Justice in 1997, a summary of what motivated the crimes was read. “Defendants share ideas that they appeal to “nationalism” and “racialism”, where the racist aspect is always present, and exalt the superiority of the white race, considering the black race as an inferior race and to be expelled from Portugal. And it is in the pursuit of such a design, to which collectively all defendants intervening in each of the aggressions against offended described above, that they acted, attacking all black individuals who crossed their path. With this performance, integrated in the objectives of the group of “Skins”, to contribute to the expulsion of Portugal from that racial group. All the defendants involved in each of the abuses against the offenders described above acted in a joint effort, wanting to achieve the physical integrity and the lives of the offended, as they were black individuals, which they achieved. “
The violence of aggression and homicide has been proven. “The defendants involved in each of the abuses against offenders described above were well aware that the objects they used (brass knuckles, sticks, military boots and others with steel toecaps, broken bottles, irons), have characteristics that, when used in the aforementioned way, are capable of causing injuries susceptible of causing death to those affected or to put them at risk of life or to cause a serious injury to their physical integrity. And that everyone would make use of these objects, whatever they wanted, conforming to the result of the aggressions practiced with them. “
25 years after the murder, Alcindo Monteiro was not forgotten. This Wednesday, June 10, at the place where he was killed, a tribute took place, with the laying of a wreath next to the place. Family members, representatives of political parties and associations and the Lisbon City Council participated. On October 1, Alcindo Monteiro’s birthday, a plaque will be unveiled at the site to mark the city’s commitment to fighting racism and fascism for future memory.