“Anti-racism has never killed anyone. Racism kills every day”.

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28 years ago, Alcindo Monteiro was murdered in Chiado in a crime of racial hatred. On June 10, the Anti-Racist Front and other organizations demonstrated. And they warned against any backsliding.

The date could not and must not be forgotten: 28 years ago, Alcindo Monteiro, a young man of Cape Verdean origin, left his home to go dancing in Bairro Alto and was beaten to death in Rua Garrett on the night of June 10, 1995, Portugal Day, by far-right nationalists. The young man wasn’t the only one beaten that night, but he was the only fatal victim of this crime of racial hatred, for which 16 people were convicted.

And it was precisely here, on this central street in Lisbon’s Chiado district, where a man was killed for the color of his skin, that the Anti-Racist Front began a demonstration this Saturday to “honor the victims of racism and xenophobia in Portugal”: Alcino, of course, but also Bruno Candé, Giovani Rodrigues, Wilson Neto, Ihor Homeniuk, António Pereira (Xuati), Elson Sanches (Kuku), Musso.

But also to “mark June 10 as a day of struggle”. It’s a day that is often identified as “the day of the race”, as it was in the Estado Novo, and which has been recuperated by many Nazi movements. It’s a day to leave a watchword, a day of anti-racist struggle”, says Henrique Chaves, president of the Anti-Racist Front.

The demonstration kicked off shortly after 11 a.m., with flags waving and slogans. “All different, all equal”, “Stop racism”, “Against discrimination, let’s respect the Constitution”. The destination was Largo do Carmo.

There are young people and children holding placards. There are also fewer young people shouting: “April 25th always! No more fascism!

April 25, 25 always! Never again racism!”

The Anti-Racist Front was joined by other movements and organizations that signed a manifesto warning of the need to uphold the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, but also against “low wages, rising cost of living, problems of access to housing, job insecurity, disinvestment in public services, particularly in health, education and public transport” – which, while affecting the generality of the Portuguese population, have “a greater impact on blacks, gypsies, immigrants and refugees”.
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It was on these issues that the Vida Justa movement, born a few months ago in Lisbon’s outlying districts, warned. “It is essential to step up the fight against racism and fascism. We know that in the current economic context, the prices of essential goods are rising.

The housing issue, the devaluation of jobs, situations of slavery for immigrants, everything is linked”, warns Flávio Almada, a member of the movement and resident of the Cova da Moura, a precarious district of Amadora, so often publicly reduced to a “neighborhood of illegal, critical or problematic origin” – and where this has already served to legitimize police violence.

Education

The demonstrators set off from Garret Street, where Lisbon City Hall even affixed a plaque in honor of Alcindo Monteiro, symbolizing his “commitment to the fight against racism and fascism in all its forms”.

But the road has been long, and much remains to be done. For Flávio Almada, there is still a part of the story to be told. “There is a feeling of hygienization in relation to the colonial past of massacres, genocides and rapes, which is sometimes glorified in school textbooks, in the speeches of certain politicians, in toponymy and statues”, he notes. The women of the Baque Mulher Lisboa movement set the tone.

This is an all-women maracatu group, an Afro-Brazilian cultural manifestation involving percussion, song and dance. They too, particularly migrant women, are represented on the Popular Committee of Brazilian Women in Portugal, a recently formed group that aims to alert and fight against the problems of discrimination against women. In addition to gender, “race and class” add to these problems, warns Rita Cássia Silva, a member of this

"Anti-racism has never killed anyone. Racism kills every day". movement.

Having lived in Portugal for over 20 years, from Bahia, Brazil, this 43-year-old anthropologist acknowledges that the country “has changed a lot, but very slowly” in the way it deals with discrimination and racism.

“It’s a country that has a great deal of resistance in its institutions, to change its ways of operating, which, from my point of view, have colonial continuities”, she notes. Here, the focus is on women’s issues: obstetric violence, the abduction of children from their mothers in maternity wards and through child protection committees. “It’s a series of problems, harassment in universities, not only sexual, but also moral.

There are a lot of things we can’t continue to let happen,” notes Rita, whose mission is to train migrant women to understand their rights. For the anthropologist, there is a lack of political will to resolve these issues more quickly.

And a “radical change” of mentality in schools. “The confrontation on the historical question, which was in fact the question of the discovery of Brazil, of the occupation of African countries,” she enumerates.

“We don’t currently have historical recognition, historical reparation for the descendants of all this slavery, this tragedy of slavery. We can’t go on talking about human rights, fundamental rights, and not realize that history isn’t being told. Because history isn’t taught in schools, we’re growing up without a historical conscience,” she stresses.

A “structural problem

Another common concern among the demonstrators was the emergence of new racist and xenophobic movements. For anti-racist activist Mamadou Ba, there is today in the Assembly of the Republic a “green lane for racism, through the election of an openly fascist, racist parliamentary group”.

“The idea of democracy is threatened because there is no democratic maturity that can accommodate the legitimization of racism”, says Mamadou Ba, on trial for defamation, publicity and slander in a case brought by neo-Nazi activist Mário Machado for writing that he was “one of the main figures in the murder of Alcindo Monteiro” in 1995.

Referring to the 50th anniversary of April 25th, which will be celebrated next year, Mamadou Ba hopes that the state and political parties will be more committed to proposing “concrete measures to combat inequality”, particularly for racialized populations. And that they ensure that “no one is murdered or raped because they are black, or because they are Roma, or because they are immigrants, or because they have a different sexual orientation”.

“Anti-racism has never killed anyone, racism kills every day. Meanwhile, these street actions, which brought together around three hundred people on Saturday, according to the organization’s figures, are important “to raise collective awareness that there is no viable democracy with racism and discrimination”.

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