Protests erupted in Brazil on Friday after a black man was beaten to death by supermarket guards.
The incident on Thursday night at the Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre was recorded in a video recorded on an eyewitness’s mobile phone and distributed on social media and Brazilian media.
It came out on Friday when Black Awareness Day was celebrated in Brazil.
About 1,000 protesters in São Paulo went to the local branch of the French supermarket chain Carrefour, where they stoned a glass façade and stormed the premises, demolishing and burning goods.
“Carrefour’s hands are stained with black blood,” was written on one of the posters held by the demonstrators.
Police in Porto Alegre used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators gathered at the supermarket where the incident took place.
Protests also erupted in the country’s capital, Brazil, the city of Belorizontie and Rio de Janeiro, where the crowd picketed at the Carrefour supermarket to prevent customers from getting to self-service checkouts.
“Carrefour may close, it has killed our brother, it will not work!” chanted young people holding posters and masks with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” (“Black Lives Matter”).
The video, shown on social media, showed 40-year-old welder Juan Albert Silveir Freitas being beaten by one guard, slapping his face and head several times while being held by another guard. Next to them stood a woman filming what was happening with her cell phone.
Military police in Rio Grande do Sul state said a black man had threatened a supermarket employee who called security.
Silveira Freitas lost consciousness during the beating and died while the medics tried to resuscitate him.
The victim’s friend told the media that Silveira Freitas had shouted during the beating that she could not breathe.
Both guards involved in the incident were detained. One of them was a member of the military police who worked part-time in a supermarket.
Carrefour’s Brazilian subsidiary deplored Silveira Freitash’s “brutal death” and promised to “take appropriate measures to bring those involved in the case to justice.”
Carrefour announced that it would end its relationship with the security company that was the employer of these security guards.
Brazilian President Jairie Bolsonaru had not publicly commented on the incident until Friday night, but Vice President Amilton Mouran called it “deplorable.”
Mourans said Silveir Freitas was beaten by a “security guard who was unprepared for work” and denied that an act of racism had taken place.
“I don’t think there’s racism in Brazil. It’s something you want to import into Brazil. It doesn’t exist here,” he said.