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'Racism kills' in Lisbon, hundreds protest after Black actor shot dead

Just yesterday hundreds of anti-racism protesters took over one of Lisbon’s main squares to demand justice for Bruno Cande, a Black actor who was shot dead in a busy street last weekend in the Portuguese capital.

According to the police report, Cande, 39, of Guinean origin, was shot several times by a white man in his eighties at Avenida de Moscavide, around 10 km from Lisbon city centre.

Cande’s family declared in a statement earlier today that the suspect had threatened to kill him three days before the shooting took place, and the killer also used racist slurs.

A protester holds a sign reading "Say no to racism" during an anti-racism protest in honour of Bruno Cande in Lisbon, Portugal. Image credit REUTERS/Catarina Demony

Even though a suspect was detained and is awaiting the trial, Portugal’s criminal investigation police agency, the PJ, has not confirmed what motivated the attack yet.

The case has put a spotlight on racism in the entire country, including frictions with police. Many demonstrations took place in Portugal, also in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after the brutal murder of George Floyd in May in Minneapolis inspired worldwide protests.

During the peaceful demonstration, protesters wearing masks held signs saying “Justice!” and “Racism kills!”

Also, a 32-year-old protester, Sofia Rodrigues, asked among the crowd: “Why are we here and unable to live in peace? We are working, paying our taxes. Why are they always killing black people?”

“From authorities to day-to-day life, Portugal remains a racist country,” said the 65-year-old Eduardo Henriques who was also at the protest.

Image credit REUTERS/Catarina Demony

Recently, in Guinea-Bissau, lawmakers passed a motion claiming that the murder was racially motivated and that they would send a delegation to find out what happened to Cande.

Europe’s main rights forum, the Council of Europe, explained in a 2018 report that there were numerous serious accusations of racist violence by the Portuguese police.

Last year, a court found out that eight officers were guilty of kidnapping. They also had hit six young people from Cova da Moura, a predominantly black neighbourhood in the outskirts of Lisbon, one of the several poor neighbourhoods around the capital where migrants mostly from Portugal’s African ex-colonies live.

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