Brazil protests to Spain over racist abuse of Vinicius

Brazil said on Monday it had formally protested to the Spanish ambassador and would lodge an official complaint with authorities in Madrid over the latest incident of racist abuse directed at Brazilian footballer Vinicius Junior. -BSS

There has been an outpouring of condemnation in Vinicius’s native Brazil since the Real Madrid star was targeted with racist abuse during the club’s 1-0 loss at Valencia on Sunday.

The Brazilian government said Racial Equality Minister Anielle Franco would present an official complaint to Spanish authorities and La Liga.

A foreign ministry source meanwhile told AFP the government had protested to Spain’s ambassador in Brazil.

“The Spanish ambassador is away from Brasilia, but we have already been in contact with her by telephone to express the Brazilian government’s displeasure over the repeated racist attacks against (Vinicius) and the need for an adequate response,” the source said.

In solidarity, the Christ the Redeemer, whose arms extend over Rio de Janeiro, will turn off its lights this Monday for one hour (between 2100 and 2200 GMT).

“The monument (…) will have its lighting turned off as a symbol of the joint fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and with all those who suffer from prejudice in the world,” the Archdiocese in charge of the sanctuary said in a statement.

The match in Valencia was halted for several minutes after Vinicius, who has repeatedly been targeted with racial slurs in Spain, was abused again Sunday from the stands.

The referee wrote in his post-match report that shouts of “monkey” had been directed at the player.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva condemned the abuse, which triggered a flood of support for Vinicius, including from fellow Brazil stars Neymar and Richarlison and retired legend Ronaldo.

Brazil “deeply regrets that no effective measures have yet been taken to prevent the recurrence of these racist acts,” the government said in a statement.

It called on Spanish authorities to “punish the perpetrators and stop further cases,” and urged FIFA, the Spanish Football Federation and La Liga to take “the necessary measures.”

Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation of the incident on Monday, and Spain’s sports council said it was analysing video images to “identify the perpetrators of these insults and behaviors to propose the appropriate sanctions.”

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