Thousands have protested across Brazilian cities, from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo, after the murder of a 24-year-old Congolese refugee who was beaten to death last month.
Moise Mugenyi Kabagambe was killed on January 24, assaulted by three men at a beach kiosk where he used to work. The attack was caught on security camera footage that police released to the public.
His death sparked outrage and revulsion across the nation. The protest on Sunday, organised by the family, was much larger than expected.
The video shows assailants attacking the young man over the course of 13 minutes, holding him down and beating him with a rod, and continuing to do so even after he loses consciousness.
They are later seen attempting chest compressions, then rolling his body over.
The young man’s death also mobilised anti-racism movements, with many denouncing an all-too-common scenario of the killing of a Black man.
The murder happened during an electoral year, in which President Bolsonaro will aim for a second term. But protesters say his silence on this case shows how little he has done.
In Rio, demonstrators gathered outside the beach kiosk where Kabagambe died.
“He was treated like an animal, like a thing, just because he was claiming two days of overdue wages, some $20,” said Carla Lima, a lawyer who participated in the protests.
“We are all here because we want Black people to be treated like humans. Moise could have been my son, my brother, my cousin,” she said.
Protests were also held in Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Salvador, the capital Brasilia, and at least seven other Brazilian cities.
Kabagambe moved to Brazil in 2011 from his native Bunia, capital of Congo’s northeastern Ituri province, in 2011.
For decades, the country’s east has been mired in conflict, and local media reports said the family had fled fighting between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups.
“We ran away from violence in a civil war to find more violence,” said Yannick Kamamba, Kabagambe’s cousin.
More than 2,500 Congolese people have been recognised as refugees in Latin America’s largest nation since 2000, according to the justice ministry, which oversees immigration.
In recent years, Brazil has also seen an increase in arrivals of Congolese and Cameroonian refugees seeking to make the overland trek to the border with the United States.
Source: Al Jazeera