João Alberto Silveira Freitas, a 40-year-old Black man, was beat to death by security guards outside a Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on November 19, 2020. Moments of the beating and killing, which happened a day before Brazil’s Black Awareness Day (Black Consciousness Day), were captured on video and went viral, prompting protests at Carrefour markets across the country.
Numerous incidents of racism and violence from security guards at Carrefour markets have occurred in recent years in Brazil.
A die-in outside of the Carrefour in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil, symbolized the Black bodies lost to State violence in Brazil. pic.twitter.com/Kgw0GILBZm
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 22, 2020
Many are comparing the killing of Freitas to that of George Floyd in that Freitas was unarmed and kneeled-on until he died. Numerous incidents of racism, violence, and death from security guards at Carrefour markets have occurred in recent years in Brazil.
Brazilian artist and activist MC EmiciThug reported from a demonstration at the Carrefour in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil:
In response to the cowardly asphyxiation murder of João Alberto Silveira Freitas, 40, the Capixaba Black Movement, along with social leaders and supporters occupied the hypermarket unit located in Shopping Vila Velha, in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil.
Shouting slogans like “stop killing us“, “it’s not over, it has to end, I want the end of the Military Police“, among others, the protesters decreed a boycott of the hypermarket chain and its partners.
In the course of the protest, there was an uproar when flares were lit. Quickly the police – protecting private property – came and put the flare out.
As we well know, Black people, art, and struggle go hand-in-hand, so Lyra recited a poetry that was very well accepted by the public.
Poet Carlos Abelhão, in partnership with MC EmiciThug and the poet Vitor Miguel, staged a piece on the aggression that caused the death of João Alberto.
During the demonstration, Professor Gustavo Ford criticized Carrefour, the multinational company, its modern slavery practices, and the low salaries of its employees.
Later, Pandora da Luz reinforced the people’s need to fight against the injustices practiced by the elite and the State.
Before the end of the action, there was still time for Gessé to light the protest with his saxophone. In the same peaceful way as it started at 1:30 p.m., at 4:00 p.m. the act came to an end, reinforcing that the Black Movement in Espírito Santo is still alive.MC EmiciThug
Symbolizing Black bodies lost to State violence in Brazil, a die-in occurred outside of the Carrefour in Vila Velha, Espírito Santo, Brazil. Carrefour stores across the country faced different actions.
In some cities, Carrefour windows were smashed and in at least one instance, a fire was started in one of the stores.
yesterday, a black man named joão freitas was beaten to death by security guards at a carrefour grocery store in porto alegre (brazil). following the news, protesters set fire to a carrefour store location in an upscale neighborhood of são paulo. https://t.co/zR4bxzYWDA
— Wendi Muse (@MuseWendi) November 21, 2020
More than 1,000 demonstrators attacked a Carrefour Brasil supermarket in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, after security guards were filmed beating a Black man to death at the store https://t.co/0H2Lq0wzdB pic.twitter.com/T9r7cyANZF
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 21, 2020
Mídia NINJA, an independent media organization in Brazil, put together a video snippet of some of the action on November 20:
20 de novembro: Um dia de luto. Um dia de luta.
Atos por todo Brasil mostram que não nos calararemos. Seguiremos, como sempre, resistindo.
— Mídia NINJA (@MidiaNINJA) November 21, 2020
Many attended a funeral for Freitas on November 21.
The funeral of murdered João Alberto Silveira Freitas in Porto Alegre.
Rest in peace.
— Brasil Wire (@BrasilWire) November 21, 2020
Both of the guards that killed Freitas were detained and according to authorities they may be criminally prosecuted.
Carrefour said they were firing the on-duty store manager in Porto Alegre and ending the contract with their current security company in Brazil. The supermarket’s CEO, Alexandre Bompard, tweeted that the video images were ”unbearable” and the Carrefour twitter released a five-tweet statement with commitments to fight against racism and violence.
As Brazil wrestles with rampant anti-Blackness in similar ways to the U.S., the police in Brazil kill 4,000 more people on average per year than police in the U.S. Statistics show nearly 80% of Brazilian victims of police violence are Black, while Brazil’s Black population is around 50%.