RIO DE JANEIRO –– Protests broke out across Brazil on Friday, the country’s Black Consciousness Day, after a video went viral online showing a black man beaten to death by white security guards at a supermarket in the southern city of Porto Alegre on Thursday night.
A protest was staged in front of the supermarket where the incident happened. Police in the city used tear gas and flash bang grenades against the protestors, according to local television. In Sao Paulo, about 1,000 protesters stormed a set of the French-owned Carrefour supermarket chain, and trashed and burned goods, according to AFP. The capital Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro also confronted strong demonstrations.
The victim was a 40-year-old welder named Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas. As the video shows, he was repeatedly punched in the face and head by a security guard while being restrained by another at a supermarket. The man died on the scene as medics tried to rescue him, according to AFP. The two supermarket security guards have been arrested. Carrefour’s Brazilian branch blasted the “brutal death” of Silveira Freitas, adding that it would take “appropriate measures to hold accountable those involved in this criminal case.”