(Bloomberg) -- Street protests and episodes of store looting were seen across Brazil after a video of a black man’s killing by grocery store security guards went viral.
Two Carrefour employees were filmed beating a 40-year-old black man to death in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on Thursday. By Friday, which happened to be Black Consciousness Day in Brazil, protesters had gathered in the streets of the city, and in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, to object to the killing and -- more broadly -- to the country’s racism. Some protesters carried banners that read “Black Lives Matter” in Portuguese.
The protests forced the closing of the chain in Rio de Janeiro and resulted in police launching tear gas at participants in Porto Alegre. On Friday, Carrefour announced that they would be terminating their contract with the company that provided the security guards, local media reported.
President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted late Friday about the country’s violence and conflicts, but didn’t acknowledge the black man’s death or address racism. He said “there’s no use in dividing the people’s suffering by groups” and added the country has problems that “go beyond racial issues.” Earlier, Vice-President Hamilton Mourao told journalists “there’s no racism in Brazil.”
The grocery chain has been a source of unrest in Brazil in the past. In 2018, Carrefour security killed a dog at a store in Sao Paulo state, drawing protesters to the location. And in August of this year, after a salesman suffered a heart attack and died, store employees covered his body with umbrellas and left the supermarket open for business.
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