Protests Held in Brazil over Killing of Congolese Refugee

Demonstrators gathered on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and other Brazilian cities to protest the killing of a 24-year-old Congolese refugee Moïse Mugenyi Kabagambe, who was beaten to death on January 24 in Barra da Tijuca, a neighborhood known for its upmarket condominiums and shopping malls.

“Moïse was beaten for 15 minutes, on a busy beach, where people pass by all the time, and at no time did anyone call the police and try to separate them,” Lawyer Rodrigo Mondengo said.

“We have no doubt that if it were a white person there being beaten, someone would go to that person’s rescue,” Mondengo added.

A security camera footage showed three men violently attacking Kabagambe, and for 13 minutes holding him down while beating him with a rod even after he lost consciousness.

Authorities said they were still investigating the circumstances that led to Kabagambe’s killing. 

The incident sparked outrage and revulsion across the nation that according to reports, the public felt no need to await official findings in a city where murder often goes unpunished. 

Protesters said Kabagambe’s death was evidence of racism, xenophobia, and impunity.

“My son grew up here, studied here. All his friends are Brazilians,” Kabagambe’s mother told television network Globo at his burial on January 30. “I want justice.”

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