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This article was first published on Monthly Review.
Ruben Marques, 18, died at the hands of the police in the barrio of Bela Vista, Setúbal, Portugal, on Saturday, March 16. His crime: he crossed a red traffic light with his moped.
The media blame the victim for not wearing a helmet, the Communist Party mayor blames the victim for stealing the motorbike, and the police turn the victim into the culprit
Ruben is one of many casualties of police brutality in marginalized working-class communities under siege. Just recently, the police officer who shot the 14-year-old“Kuku” at point-blank range was acquitted by the courts. Tony’s mural has remained colorful since 2002.
As news of Ruben’s death reaches more and more shacks and apartments of immigrants from Portugal’s former colonies, travelers, and the unemployed, the police station gets surrounded by people in protest. Young men and women start torching bins, vandalizing cars, and hurling rocks and glass. (more…)