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Brazil protesters demand justice for Congolese immigrant beaten to death over unpaid wages

<i>Kabagambe family</i><br/>Moise Kabagambe arrived in Brazil in 2011. He was killed in Rio de Janeiro in January.
Kabagambe family
Kabagambe family
Moise Kabagambe arrived in Brazil in 2011. He was killed in Rio de Janeiro in January.

By Camilo Rocha, CNN

Protesters gathered across Brazil on Saturday to demand justice for Moise Kabagambe, whose family say he was beaten to death after asking for unpaid wages.

Kabagambe’s family say he was beaten to death on January 24, after demanding back pay for two days from work at a kiosk where he had served drinks.

Moise Kabagambe was seen in a video from the Tropicalia beach kiosk’s security cameras being attacked by a group of men who beat him repeatedly with a club and a baseball bat, according to police, who have opened an investigation into his death. Three men have been arrested in connecting to the murder, according to police.

The protests were held in 20 cities across Brazil, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Brasilia.

Demonstrators called for justice and harsh punishments be doled out to those involved in Kabagambe’s death.

Kabagambe was a Congolese immigrant. Many protesters highlighted the wider issues of racism and perceived lack of opportunities faced by the Congolese community in Brazil.

In Rio, protests took place in front of the Tropicalia beachfront kiosk. Images of the protest posted on social media show demonstrators pulling down the kiosk signs at the seaside bar.

In São Paulo, protesters gathered in Avenida Paulista, at the São Paulo Art Museum. In the federal capital Brasília, a gathering took place in front of the Foreign Relations Ministry building.

“I can be a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer but when I go to any company, they tell me to do cleaning work,” said Claudine Shindany, a journalist and activist from the Congolese community, who spoke at the demonstration in São Paulo. Met by applause, she added, “[There is] total humiliation, offenses, defamation everywhere, at school, in hospital, at work, I feel discrimination everywhere”.

In a message posted on social media, the family of Moise Kabagambe thanked “the many demonstrators for their support from all up to this moment, and also thank those who worried and organized the demonstrations.”

On Saturday, Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes said on Twitter that the concession stand for the beachfront kiosk would be offered to Kabagambe’s family.

His planning secretary also announced that the area near the establishment would become the site of a memorial to African culture.

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