Afro-Brazilians are incensed by the death of a 19-year-old allegedly killed by a supermarket security guard in Rio de Janeiro.

The Guardian reports the teen, Pedro Gonzaga, died in the hospital from a heart attack after allegedly being choked by a supermarket security guard on Thursday. Protesters have since taken to the streets as the hashtag #VidasNegrasImportan, which translates to #BlackLivesMatter, has circulated on social media.

Following the teenager's death, demonstrators in the hundreds have erupted outside of the Extra Supermarket where the teenager was killed. Marches have also taken place in four other major Brazilian cities, including São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Recife, according to The Guardian

“There has never been a Black Lives Matter [movement] in Brazil to compare to the United States, but this year I think it will happen more often because the Black community is more and more united," activist Rene Silva told The Rio Times

“We want to talk about more about Black lives matter, for society to understand we can’t stand racism anymore,” Silva continued.

According to Brazil's 2018 annual Violence Atlas, a thoroughly researched analysis conducted by the country's government, approximately 72 percent of all homicide victims in the nation are of Black or mixed origin. Those of African or mixed descent constitute a little over half of the population.

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Many within the nation's Black communities have been comparing the death of Gonzaga to that of Eric Garner due to its incredibly mobilizing effect as well as the nature of the young man's death. Garner died in 2014 from complications following an illegal chokehold by an arresting officer in New York City. Black Lives Matter used "I Can't Breathe" as a rallying cry against police brutality. 

Similarly, footage of the incident appears to show Extra Supermarket security guard Davi Ricardo Amâncio restraining Gonzaga as his body stops moving. 

Viewers on the scene can be heard yelling, "He is suffocating him," begging for Amâncio to release the teen.

An unconscious Gonzaga was rushed to the hospital where he died from a heart attack sustained during the incident.

Amâncio reportedly told authorities that Gonzaga attempted to take his gun from him while repeatedly yelling, "I'm going to kill you!" He also claims that he did not apply pressure to Gonzaga's neck but only used his body weight to restrain him. 

Reports claim that Gonzaga can be seen on video walking toward the guard, falling to the ground, getting up and falling to the ground again moments before the incident occurred.

“Security camera video proves there was no attempt to take the security guard’s weapon," tweeted popular Brazilian YouTuber Felipe Neto to his 8.5 million followers. 

The security guard was immediately arrested and taken in for questioning but was out on bail the next day.

A spokesperson for the supermarket has released a statement denouncing the use of excessive force and taking responsibility for the traumatic event.

The company stated that "it does not accept any act of violence, excesses and repudiates all forms of racism."

Additionally, the representative stated the market is working with authorities “not exempting itself from the responsibilities of what has occurred."


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