Friday, January 15, 2021

Crossroads target of protests against racist violence in Brazil

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It is a logo known around the world. Two arrows, one blue and one red, drawing a C: that of the supermarket giant Carrefour. But in Brazil, in recent days, on protest boards and online posts, that latest arrow has turned into a puddle of blood.

The French group is in turmoil in Brazil, following the death of Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, a 40-year-old black man, beaten to death by the guards of a Carrefour in Porto Alegre, Thursday evening, November 19, at the eve of the very symbolic National Black Consciousness Day.

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From Salvador to Brasilia via Porto Alegre, many demonstrations have since taken place, each time bringing together a few hundred or thousands of people, to the cries of “Carrefour assassin!” “. In several places, in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the group’s outlets, invaded or taken by storm, threatened to be vandalized and set on fire, were forced to close their doors.

A dark side of the group

The mobilization does not weaken: on the asphalt of the Paulista, the “fifth avenue of Sao Paulo”, was painted in giant letters the slogan “Vidas negras importam” (“Black lives matter”). In Porto Alegre, a request has been filed with the town hall by local associations demanding the definitive closure of the Carrefour in the Passo d’Areia district, where the tragedy took place. More worrying for the group: online, a petition calling for a boycott of Carrefour has collected more than 16,000 signatures.

The murder of Joao Alberto would be “even more savage” than that of George Floyd in the United States.

Every day, the press reports new “Carrefour scandals”, revealing a dark side of the group in Brazil: daily acts of racism, beating of black people, cases of torture and alleged rape committed by security agents, compared. to real “militias” in the service of the Whites… When we enter the supermarket, we enter a sphere where private police see us, blacks, as threats ”, reacted in the daily Folha de Sao Paulo the lawyer Thiago Amparo.

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In the midst of the municipal campaign, while the second round is scheduled for November 29, the French group also suffers the wrath of almost the entire political class, with the exception of Jair Bolsonaro, silent on the subject. Guilherme Boulos, leftist candidate for mayor of Sao Paulo, described the tragedy as “Pure racism”. The judge of the Federal Supreme Court, Alexandre de Moares, spoke of a “Barbaric homicide”. For José Vicente, a high figure of the Afro-Brazilian movement, the murder of Joao Alberto would be “Wilder” even that of George Floyd in the United States.

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