SAO PAULO – About 50 people protested on Tuesday in Sao Paulo against homophobia after a street vendor was fatally beaten at a metro station while trying to defend a transsexual.
Luiz Carlos Ruas, nicknamed “Indian” for his ethnic roots, was brutally attacked by two men, ages 21 and 26, who beat and kicked him to death.
Carrying rainbow flags, the protests, including several transsexuals, gathered on Tuesday at the Pedro II metro station in Sao Paulo to denounce Ruas’s killing and criticize “hatred” against transsexuals.
“In 2007, I was attacked by nine men and lost a kidney. I only have one now. I know what it is to feel the violence in your own skin. I don’t want that to happen to my friends and colleagues. So, we’re here today asking for justice,” transsexual Renata Moraes Pessoa told EFE.
Moraes called for an “effective and definitive” response by the state to violence against transsexuals.
“It’s not possible to camouflage the truth and say that Brazil is not a transphobic country, because transphobia exists and the evidence is right here,” she said.
Also participating in the demonstration were several priests, including Julio Lancellotti, the director of the Street People Ministry, who paraphrased Pope Francis’s call for everyone to be “respected as brothers.”
“We’re here expressing our outrage over this terrible death and this senseless violence, he said.
The attackers, Ricardo Martins do Nascimento, 21, and Alipio Rogerio Belo dos Santos, 26, have been fugitives since Monday night, when police went to their homes to arrest them, according to what officials with the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Police told EFE.
The two attackers, who have no criminal records, were recognized by their relatives after seeing the images recorded by metro security cameras.
According to the police investigation, the incident began when Ruas tried to stop the two men’s attack on a homeless transsexual.