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Relatives, friends mount protest over killing of Brazilian

July 26, 2005 11:26 IST
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Hundreds of relatives and friends of a Brazilian shot to death in London after being mistaken for a terrorist marched along the cobblestone streets of his hometown, demanding the arrest of the British policemen who fired the fatal shots.

Some of the protesters held banners on Tuesday denouncing the British police as the real terrorists; other placards were adorned with snapshots of Jean Charles de Menezes, urging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to send his body home so it can be buried. All said Blair's apology did not go far enough.

"Apologies don't help, we want justice," they chanted, stopping briefly to offer a prayer for the 27-year-old electrician who had left Brazil to work in Britain so he could return home with enough savings to start a cattle ranch.

Menezes' killing has been the top story on radio and television broadcasts since Sunday, although there has been no large-scale public outcry.

In London, foreign minister Celso Amorim said he had instructions from President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva 'to take firm measures to defend the interests of the family of a Brazilian who died in an absurd manner'.

The militant Landless Rural Workers' Movement has scheduled protests in front of the British embassy in Brasilia and the consulate in Rio de Janeiro.

Gonzaga's mayor, outraged over the news that Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, called the killing an 'assassination'. "It's easy for Blair to apologise, but it doesn't mean very much," said mayor Julio de Souza.

"What happened to English justice and England, a place where police patrol unarmed?" he asked.


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