Hundreds be part of protests in Portugal after homicide of Black man


Lisbon, Portugal – Anti-racism protests have continued in Portugal a day after lots of of demonstrators gathered within the capital, Lisbon, to demand justice for a Black Portuguese man who was murdered per week in the past.

Bruno Cande Marques, a 39-year-old actor and father of three kids, was shot 4 instances at point-blank vary on a busy avenue within the Moscavide space of Lisbon on July 25 and died immediately.

A suspect, a white man in his 70s, was arrested on the scene.

Carrying placards studying, “No justice, no peace” and “Racism is colonial heritage”, demonstrators together with members of Bruno Cande’s household on Friday staged a rally exterior Lisbon’s National Theatre, the place a big banner of the murdered man was hanging from. 

Similar protests have been held on Saturday within the cities of Porto and Braga, with protesters and anti-racism campaigners saying the killing was motivated by racial hatred.

Earlier within the week, native media quoted witnesses as saying that the alleged assassin had used racist slurs and threatened Cande Marques days earlier than the homicide, in addition to on the identical day. During their earlier confrontation, a witness stated the suspect had instructed Cande Marques, “I have weapons at home from the colonies, and I’m going to kill you.”

Police haven’t confirmed what the motive was behind the assault, however native media quoted commissioner Luis Santos, of Portugal’s Public Security Agency, as saying on Sunday that, “None of the witnesses we questioned at the scene mentioned racist comments.”

The police feedback raised considerations amongst activists and anti-racism teams.

“Normally, the PSP refrain from making public statements until formal legal decisions have been made,” Cristina Roldao, a Black rights campaigner and sociologist, instructed Al Jazeera. “So, why have they broken with convention now?”

Portugal BLM protest

Sociologist Cristina Roldao on the vigil for Bruno Cande on Friday [Ana Mendes/Al Jazeera]

Bruno Cande’s household stated they’d additionally been disenchanted by the response of the Portuguese media who had centered overwhelmingly on particulars of his life, whereas subsequent to nothing is thought concerning the suspect.

“They have been raking through details of Bruno’s life,” Andreia Araujo, Cande’s niece, instructed Al Jazeera. “The family just want to see justice done properly.”

Protesters on the Lisbon vigil echoed the identical name.

“It makes me so sad,” stated Joao Tristany, a musician of Angolan-Portuguese heritage. “Everything about the case is so obvious, and still they’re just looking for reasons to justify why Bruno Cande was killed. Are we ever going to see a case of racism dealt with properly here by the authorities? We’re sick of this.”

Portugal has a sizeable Afro-descendent inhabitants and a protracted colonial historical past in Africa, having solely conceded independence to its former colonies in 1975.

Tens of hundreds of Portuguese individuals have been concerned within the large-scale programmes to “settle” former colonies equivalent to Angola and Mozambique, and plenty of have been concerned within the colonial wars that have been fought towards their independendence from 1960-1975.

In Guinea-Bissau, the place Cande’s household are from, dozens of younger individuals additionally amassed exterior the Portuguese embassy final week, mendacity down on the bottom in protest.

Portugal BLM protest

Several high-profile figures attended Friday’s vigil, together with Portuguese politician Beatriz Gomes Dias [Ana Mendes/Al Jazeera]

A 2016 report by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticised the persistence of “Afrophobia” and “institutional racism” within the nation, together with hate crimes towards minorities.

Experts stated that though the Portuguese penal code makes each racism and hate crimes punishable by legislation, that is not often utilized.

“In practice, Portugal’s capacity to process cases as racism or hate crimes is practically zero”, stated Roldao. “Most of the state institutions in Portugal still say and believe that there is no racism in Portugal. So, if there’s no racism, nothing can be called out as racist.”

In June, a Vidas Negras Importam – Black Lives Matter – protest held within the wake of George Floyd’s homicide by police within the United States was the most important anti-racism demonstration to have ever taken place in Portugal.

“The generation born here, like me, won’t be told to go back to where we came from,” stated Geovani Djanco, a 26-year-old group organiser raised within the suburbs of Lisbon by his Bissau-Guinean dad and mom.

“Portugal has a serious problem, and we won’t be told we have to be grateful and keep quiet. This is my country too, and it’s my responsibility as a Portuguese citizen.”

Portugal BLM protest

‘Racism is colonial heritage,’ reads a placard at a Friday vigil for Bruno Cande [Ana Mendes/Al Jazeera]