Note from BW of Brazil: Well here’s an intriguing piece of news. Along with all of the other stories about how the question of race plays out in Brazil featured on this blog, the next time someone tells you “Brazilians don’t see race the same way as_______”, show them this report! This is not a note to condone assaults or violence of any sort, it simply shows that some (if not most) people make a clear distinction between who they believe to be the “haves” and the “have nots”.
Bandits rob bus and choose victims by skin color in Belo Horizonte
Criminals announced the assault and didn’t take any belongings of blacks or browns
By Pedro Ferreira
Thieves board a bus downtown and attack near Morro do Papagaio
Three assailants that attacked bus passengers on Avenida Nossa Senhora do Carmo, in the South Downtown Region of Belo Horizonte, chose victims by skin color. At the time of the assault, they didn’t take anything from persons who were negro (black) or pardo (brown), alleging that they are “workers” but stole mobile phones and other valuables from those who do not fit this profile. The denouncement is from victims who had their belongings taken and accused the preference to police and also made appeals on social networks. Even an online petition was created so that a bus stop in front of the crowded Morro do Papagaio is deactivated. Only in the first seven days of this year, there were four instances of robbery, admits the commander of the 22nd Battalion of the Military Police (MP), responsible for the area, Lieutenant Colonel Eucles Figueiredo. According to the Military Police soldier, preventive operations are being done at the location.
Around 7:30 am on Wednesday, one of the victims was the foreign trade analyst Maylin Santana Carvalho de Souza, 27, a passenger on line 2104 (Nova Gamelleira/Milton Campos). The previous day, at 6:30pm, three thieves with the same characteristics and mode of action also invaded a bus from line 5106 at the same location. Three women, 24, 28 and 30, and two men, 21 and 23 had cell phones, money, purses and documents taken. Other victims didn’t want to wait for the arrival of the MP and left without filing a complaint. Burglars always flee on foot, toward the kite hill, in the Barrio Santa Lucia, next to the access clover to the Belvedere district, where there was an Observation Post of the Military Police, which was deactivated.
Maylin says that on Wednesday morning, says that she was on her way to work, with more than 50 people on the bus. She said the robbers boarded in downtown Belo Horizonte. “Three boys, all black, came and observed the passengers. At Nossa Senhora do Carmo, each of them pulled out a revolver and together, announced the assault. One of them put his gun in my face and said, ‘Give me your cell, I already saw that you have one.’ A black boy was handing over his phone and the thief didn’t accept it and said, ‘You, no, neguinho. (1) You are a worker,” she said. “The bus driver and cashier also surrendered, but, as they were black, the thieves did not take anything from them,” she added. According to her, the passengers from lines 8106, 5106 and 8001 were also assaulted in the region. “The place is a full plate for thieves,” said the victim.
Petition – The passengers of line Move 5105 created on the internet a petition for the city to deactivate the point of boarding and exiting in the crowded entrance, “because of the high rate of assaults occurring on site, which is used as a point of escape of the assailants after actions of theft and armed robbery inside of the collective,” reads the document.
Lt. Col. Eucles reported that the observation post was deactivated because the MP didn’t adopt more static points of work and policing is now rotating. “The last two weeks, there were some episodes on the location and we are watching and doing operations. In October last year, we arrested four criminals who were active in the area. The cases came back just after Christmas break and we’re developing specific prevention operations,” said the commandant.
1. A diminutive of the term negro, neguinho can be loosely translated as “little black guy” and can be used pejoratively or affectionately depending on the scenario and vocal tone of the speaker.