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  • Justice for João Alberto demo in front of Carrefour in Boa Viagem, south of Recife. November 21, 2020.

    Justice for João Alberto demo in front of Carrefour in Boa Viagem, south of Recife. November 21, 2020. | Photo: Pedro Caldas via Jornalistas Livres

Published 22 November 2020
Opinion

The murder of João Alberto Silveira Freitas by security guards at a Porto Alegre supermarket triggered mass protests on Black Consciousness Day,

Protesters set sights on a unit of French supermarket chain Carrefour, at about 5pm on Friday, November 20, in the vicinity of Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo. The store was destroyed after a protest called by the city’s Black movement in response to the murder of João Alberto Silveira Freitas, a 40-year-old black man, in a Carrefour store in Porto Alegre.

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In response to the death of João Alberto on the eve of  Black Consciousness Day, more than a thousand protesters joined the 17th March of Black Conscience in Sao Paulo, which assembled at the MASP (São Paulo Art Museum) then went to a large Carrefour store, on nearby Pamplona Street.

The hypermarket, which is on the ground floor of a mall, was closing its doors and security guards tried to keep out the protesters, who broke through the blockade and destroyed the interior of the store. A fire was started.

João Alberto Silveira Freitas  was beaten  to death by a military policeman and a security guard at the Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre, on Thursday night.

According to the Rio Grande do Sul Military Police, the assaults started after a disagreement between the victim and a local employee. Disconcerted, Freitas was rescued by a team from the Ambulance Service (SAMU), who tried to revive him without success. The two attackers were arrested in the act and are being investigated for homicide.

Brian Mier reported that the agent involved in the assault is only “temporary” and that it occurred outside working hours. In a statement , Carrefour promised to end a contract with the local outsourced security company, said it would take reasonable measures to hold those involved responsible, and defined the act as criminal.

“The employee who was in charge of the store at the time of the incident will be fired. Out of respect for the victim, the store will be closed. We will contact Mr. João Alberto’s family to provide the necessary support ”, says an excerpt from the French company’s statement.

Carrefour says that it will make a rigorous internal investigation of the case and that “no violence and intolerance is allowed”. However, the supermarket carries a history of violence and neglect involving customers and employees.

The most recent reported by the press had occurred in August of this year. A Carrefour sales promoter died while working at a unit in Recife. Moisés Santos, 53, was covered with umbrellas and surrounded by boxes so that the store could continue to function and his body remained in place between 8 am and 12 pm, until he was removed by the Legal Medical Institute (IML).

Other cases of racism, labor violations and aggression against animals have been  linked to the supermarket.

This article was originally published in Brasil Wire.

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