A Brazilian skinheadWhenever I think of Brazil, Skinheads certainly do not come to mind. According to an article in Brazzil Magazine written by Edison Bernardo DeSouza, who currently lives in Sao Paulo, another scene of violence shocked Brazil on June 8. A group of 15 men attacked and almost beat to death a police officer at one of the most boisterous areas of the Brazilian southeast city of São Paulo: Augusta Street, close to Paulista Avenue, one of the town’s major financial districts.

He said that the brutality occurred, when a young black Brazilian walking down Augusta Street around 4 am was surrounded by skinheads, a neo-Nazi group. After being called “nigger” by his aggressors, the victim was attacked. A local police officer, who was in the area at the moment of the attack, tried to intervene, with no luck.

The police official was brutally attacked by the gang, who carried weapons including a metal bar. His face was completely disfigured following the episode. A cyclist, who was passing by during the incident, immediately called the local police station. Only five gang members ended up being arrested. DeSouza said that each of them had a previous criminal record.

It is not the first time an incident of this nature has occurred in São Paulo. In February 2007, University professor Alessandro Ferreira de Araújo was also a victim of the skinhead violence, that time for being homosexual.

According to Decradi (Department of Police for Racial crimes and Racial Intolerance), there are approximately 3000 gang members listed in their database, who are involved in some type of hatred activity. The article goes on to say that Punk Threat, Punk addiction, Hooligan Impact, Front 88 are some of the names. Gang members normally wear steel boots, camouflage shirts and suspenders. Most of these gangs preach hatred against, Jews, Afro-Brazilians, and homosexuals.

As Brazil celebrates 120 years of the abolition of slavery this year, it is a sad commentary that they are confronted with such racial hatred. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, in southeastern Brazil close to 40 percent of the population is Afro-Brazilian, while in the North and Northeast region this number jumps to 75 percent. Boy, it seems to me that blacks just can’t catch a break no matter where they live.