Silveira Freitas,40, was buried in somber ceremony in southern city of Porto Alegre where he was beaten to death by white security guards, sparking protests across the country.

Relatives and friends of Silveira Freitas attend his funeral in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on November 21, 2020.
Relatives and friends of Silveira Freitas attend his funeral in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on November 21, 2020. (AFP)

Emotions have been running high at the funeral of a Black Brazilian man beaten to death by white security guards in an assault that sparked protests across the country.

"It is an immense sadness. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I'm struggling to hold back my tears," Silveira Freitas's father, Joao Batista Rodrigues Freitas, told AFP news agency.

In the presence of about 40 people, mostly relatives, Silveira Freitas was buried in a somber ceremony.

The blue flag of his favorite football club, Sao Jose, was draped over his coffin.

A video taken on Thursday night in the southern city of Porto Alegre showed 40-year-old welder Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas repeatedly being punched in the face and head by a security guard while he is being restrained by another at a Carrefour supermarket.

The clip quickly went viral on social media.

"I hope that all the emotion that his death has caused will make our society better... that we teach the principles of equality in school," his father said.

Leaders ignoring racism in Brazil 

According to the preliminary investigation into his death, Silveira Freitas was beaten for more than five minutes before being immobilised by his attackers and dying of asphyxiation.

On Saturday morning, in his speech at the virtual G20 summit, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro once again ignored the serious problems of structural racism in Brazil, a country where around 55 percent of its population of 212 million identifies as black or mixed-race.

"As a man and president, I see everyone as the same colour: green and yellow," Bolsonaro said, referring to the colours of the Brazilian flag, and repeating what he had said the night before on Twitter: that he is "colour blind."

His Vice President Hamilton Mourao also caused an outcry on Friday when he said "there is no racism" in Brazil.

March of fury 

"We know how difficult it is to raise awareness, because the enemies of the fight against racism are currently in power," Matheus Gomes, a left-wing official elected last Sunday to the Porto Alegre legislative assembly, told AFP.

"But I think people are starting to wake up. Young black people are taking to the streets in revolt to try to change this reality," said the 29-year-old black historian, who attended Silveira Freitas' funeral.

Protests broke out on Friday – Black Consciousness Day in Brazil – in Sao Paulo, as well as the capital Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, many in front of branches of the French-owned Carrefour supermarket chain.

On Saturday morning, the slogan "Black Lives Matter" had been painted in Portuguese in large white letters on Avenida Paulista, an emblematic street in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city.

Source: AFP