Sports

Brazilian activists demonstrate to support Vinicius Jr. outside Spanish embassy

Brasilia, May 25 (EFE).- Dozens of Brazilian activists demonstrated on Thursday in support of soccer star Vinicius Junior in front of the Spanish Embassy in Brasilia after a soccer crowd in Spain hurled racist insults at the Real Madrid striker last weekend.

The protesters shouted slogans against racism and xenophobia and called for a firmer response from Spanish authorities and the soccer world against racism.

Activist Vitor Gonzales Santos, with the Red Emancipa, told EFE that the seven people who were arrested for assorted racist acts against the Brazilian player “are already being released. It’s not enough of a punishment.”

Another protester, Natalia Stancioni, said that what occurred in the Real Madrid road match against Valencia “reflects a social problem that Spain has to confront.”

She added that the first reaction to the racist attacks on Vinicius Jr. was “slow,” although now – after the governments of Brazil and Spain have discussed the matter – she said that quicker progress is being made.

“Now it seems that Spain is moving forward to a little bit deeper debate. It’s time that Spain revises its laws,” she said.

Also on Thursday, a similar demonstration was held in Rio de Janeiro and two days ago about 100 people congregated in front of the Spanish consulate in Sao Paulo in support of Vinicius, who is black.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said on Wednesday that the governments of the two countries are staying in “ongoing contact” to find mechanisms to put an end to racism in soccer and other sports.

Vieira spoke by telephone with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Manuel Albares, who told him of the decision taken by the Pedro Sanchez government to “prevent” such incidents from being repeated and to ensure that perpetrators do not enjoy impunity for such behavior.

“Minister Albares expressed his full repudiation” and said that what occurred last Sunday at Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain during the match does not reflect “the characteristics of Spanish society,” Vieira said.

The government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has expressed its most absolute and firmest repudiation of any form of discrimination after the incident on Sunday, when Valencia fans began shouting racist insults at Vinicius Jr.

On Tuesday, the equality ministries of Spain and Brazil issued a joint statement in which they condemned the racist attack on Vinicius and demanded that there be no impunity for it.

They also expressed their “unconditional solidarity” with the Real Madrid forward and demanded that all appropriate institutions respond “with the maximum diligence to take measures” against this and other incidents of racism that may arise within the sports sector.

EFE mp/cm/bp

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