Letter in support of Mamadou Ba and political antiracism in Portugal

In the last weeks, political tensions in Portugal have arisen following public demonstrations of extreme right organizations that have also threatened anti-racist activists. On August 11, black antiracist activist Mamadou Ba and other nine persons (antiracist, antifascist and LGBT rights activists, MPs and trade union leaders) received an e-mail sent by a neo-Nazi movement that threatened them and their families if they did not leave the country in the next 48 hours. In July the headquarters of the movement SOS Racismo in Lisbon was vandalized – “War against the enemies of my land” was written on the facade – and in August, three days before the aforementioned e-mail was sent, several neo-Nazis gathered in protest in front of the building, performing a KKK-marching-style with torches and white masks.

Many activists and academics across the world have signed a letter in support of Mamadou Ba and antiracists organizations in Portugal. This is the letter.

Letter in support of Mamadou Ba and political antiracism in Portugal

The denial of structural racism is the rule in Europe, and Portugal is not an exception. Portuguese institutions and civil society have not come to terms with the history and legacies of colonialism and racial enslavement. Complaints of racial discrimination and racist crimes are rarely prosecuted, and the number of condemnations is very low. The strengthening of antiracist organizations and, in particular, of the black movement, has unsettled mainstream political approaches towards institutionalized racism, racist violence and racial harassment for the last five years. 

In this context, the countering of the critique and public denunciation of police brutality and extreme right discourses made by antiracist activists has escalated in the last months. On August 11, black antiracist activist Mamadou Ba and other nine persons (antiracist, antifascist and LGBT rights activists, MPs and trade union leaders) received an e-mail sent by the neo-Nazi movement designated as Nova Ordem de AvisNational Resistance that threatened them and their families if they did not leave the country in the next 48 hours. In July the headquarters of the movement SOS Racismo in Lisbon was vandalized – “War against the enemies of my land” (“Guerra aos inimigos da minha terra”) was written on the facade – and in August, three days before the aforementioned e-mail was sent, several neo-Nazis gathered in protest in front of the building, performing a KKK-marching-style with torches and white masks. 

Mamadou Ba, by Ana CruzMamadou Ba, by Ana Cruz

Mamadou Ba has been a militant of immigrant associations and member of SOS Racismo Portugal since the end of the 1990s. He has received threats from extreme right and neo-Nazi organizations since 2012 and has been in the spotlight since January 2019 after he made a public comment in social networks about police brutality and the reaction of certain left-wing militants to the public protest carried out mostly by young black people from the periphery in Lisbon against police violence, after a video of police officers beating the members of a black family went viral in social media. Ba referred to the police as “the fucking cops” (“a bosta da bofia”) and in the following weeks, members of extreme right organizations stalked and harassed him on the street. Two police unions (Associação Sindical dos Profissionais da Polícia and Sindicato Vertical de Carreiras da Polícia) filed criminal complaints against Mamadou Ba, charging him of defamation. 

There has been a normalization of extreme right discourses in parliamentary debates and the media in Portugal; for instance, some members of neo-Nazi organizations have been invited to participate on tv programs. Hate speech and harassment in social networks against black antiracist activists have become commonplace. Some police union leaders are also members of Chega!, an extreme right political party with one elected MP, André Ventura, since the national elections held in October 2019.  Ventura was a former member of the PSD (Social Democratic Party), a liberal-conservative political party. The election of three black women with different political trajectories, but engaged with the antiracist struggle has made structural racism more explicit in the country.

In the last months, Ventura has organized two demonstrations in Lisbon (June 22; August 2) under the political banner of anti-antiracist politics and support for police forces – “Portugal is not a racist country” (“Portugal não é racista”) has been the political slogan. Ventura has recently commented on the murder of black actor Bruno Candé, of Guinean origin, saying that in Portugal “racism has become an excuse for everything” and stated that “minorities have rights, but also duties”. Candé was shot in broad day light in Lisbon by Evaristo Marinho, a veteran of the so called “Colonial War” against the National Liberation Movements in the African contexts colonized by the Portuguese Empire-State. Witnesses stated that the alleged murderer used racist slurs and threatened Candé days before the murder, as well as on the day he shot him, making comments about his participation in the war.

We want to express our support of Mamadou Ba and his family, and our solidarity with the black movement in Portugal.

We support the protests and collective mobilization happening in Portugal by the antiracist movements and organizations. 

We join their call against silence and denial.

We join their call for accountability and concrete change to transform the reality of structural racism and its manifestation in police brutality, racist violence and racial harassment in Portugal.


Abel Djassi, Simmons University, USA

Achille Mbembe, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa/Duke University, USA.

Aderivaldo Ramos de Santana, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, France

Alexandre Rocha da Silva, Instituto Esporte & Educação, Brasil

Álvaro Pereira do Nascimento, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Brasil

Alyosha Goldstein, University of New Mexico, USA

Amal Bentounsi, Urgence notre police assassin, France 

Amanj Aziz, Nyans:Muslim, Sweden 

Amber Kelsie, Wake Forest University, USA

Amílcar Packer, Oficina de Imaginação Política, Brasil

Amílcar Pereira, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brasil

Amzat Boukari-Yabara, Ligue Panafricaine - UMOJA

Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasil

Ana Lúcia Araújo, Howard University, USA

Anderson Ribeiro Oliva, Núcleo de Estudos Afro-Brasileiros-Universidade de Brasília (Neab-UnB), Brasil

André de Godoy Bueno, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brasil

Anna Klobucka, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA

Atef S. Said, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Babacar Faye, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Sénégal

Bado Ndoye, Université Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar, Sénégal

Bárbara Oliveira, Irmandade Pretas Candangas, Brasil

Cayetano Fernández, Kale Amenge - Roma anti-racist movement

César Augusto Baldi, funcionário público federal, Brasil

Cornel West, Harvard University, USA

Daniel Mandur Thomaz, King’s College London, UK

Deborah Santos, NEAB-Universidade de Brasília, Brasil

Delphine Abadie, chercheure associée au LLCP, Université Paris 8, France

Dr. Hilla Dayan, Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands

Dr. Noa K. Ha, Das Deutsche Zentrum für Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (DeZIM), Deutschland

Dr. Ylva Habel, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden

Edinelia Souza, Universidade do Estado da Bahia (UNEB), Brasil

Elsa Roland, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique

Emanuelle Santos, Universidade de Birmingham, UK

Euza Raquel de Sousa, Instituto Federal Rio Grande do Norte, Brasil

Evelyn Melo Silva, Advogada brasileira, Brasil

Fabiano Silva dos Santos, advogado, professor universitário UNIP, Brasil

Fatima El-Tayeb, Professor - University of California, USA

Felwine Sarr, Duke University, USA

Fernanda N. Crespo, GEPEAR, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brasil

Flávio Gomes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brasil

Franck Ribard, Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC), Brasil

Françoise Vergès, Politologue, féministe décoloniale, colletiff Décoloniser les arts, France 

Fred Moten, New York University (NYU), USA

Gabrielle Oliveira de Abreu, Movimento Mulheres Negras Decidem, Brasil

Georges Franco, artiste peintre, France

Giovanni Picker, University of Glasgow, UK

Gisele Cittadino, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Brasil

Gustave Massiah, Centre International de Culture Populaire CEDETIM, France

Houria Bouteldja, Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR), France

Ibtissem Benarabe, Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR), France

Ines Cordeiro Dias, Assistant Professor, Spelman College, USA

Iva Maria Cabral, Fundação Amílcar Cabral, Cabo Verde

Janete Santos Ribeiro, Escola Técnica Estadual Adolpho Bloch (FAETEC/ETEAB) & Núcleo de Estudos Afro-brasileiros-Sankofa, Brasil

Jeferson De, Buda filmes, Brasil

João Gabriel, Ligue Panafricaine-Umoja

José Augusto Rodrigues Jr. Advogado, Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, São Paulo, Brasil

Jovita Pinto, Bla*Sh - Black Feminist Network, Switzerland

Juliana Souza, Grupo Prerrogativas, Brasil

Laura Harris, New York University (NYU)

Lourival dos Santos, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), Brasil

Luciana Boiteux, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Luciene Lacerda, Instituto Búzios, Fórum de Mulheres Negras Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Lucilene Reginaldo, Professora da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brasil

Luis Carlos Moro, American Association of Jurists, USA

Luk Vervaet, Prisons and solitary confinement in Europe (supermax.be), Belgique

Maboula Soumahoro, Black History Month, France

Malick Gueye, Sindicato Manteros de Madrid, España

Mallé Kassé, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Daka (UCAD), Sénégal 

Marcelo Marques de Almeida Filho, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasil

Marcus Camara, Utah State University, USA

Marcus Vinicius de Oliveira, Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Brasil

Maria Paula Fernandes Adinolfi, Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (IPHAN), Brasil

Mariana Wiecko Volkmer de Castilho, Universidade de Brasília, Brasil

Marie-Noëlle Ryan, Université de Moncton, Canada

Mark JL Sabine, School of Cultures, Languages & Area Studies, University of Nottingham, UK

Maurício Brasil, Associação Juízes para a Democracia e Associação Brasileira de Juristas pela Democracia (ABJD), Brasil  

Mayara Souza, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasil

Miguel de Barros, Centro de Estudos Sociais Amílcar Cabral, Guiné Bissau

Moha Gerehou, elDiario.es, España

Mouhad Reghif, Bruxelles Panthères, Belgique

Nacira GUÉNIF, University Paris 8 Vincennes - Saint-Denis, France

Natália Barbosa, GEPEAR/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Natalia Gavazzo, CONICET- Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM), Argentina

Natasa Petresin-Bachelez, interdependent curator, France/Slovenia

Nengumbi Sukama, Instituto Argentino para la Igualdad, Diversidad e Integración (IARPIDI), Argentina

Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University (NYU), USA

Nicholas Smith, Södertörn University, Sweden

Nordine Saidi, militant Décolonial et membre de Bruxelles Panthères, Belgique

Paola Bacchetta, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Patricia Schor, Amsterdam University College and Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Pedro Schacht Pereira, The Ohio State University, USA

Piedade Lino Videira, NEAB-Universidade Federal do Amapá, Brasil

Priscilla Marques Campos, GEPEAR-Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro/UNIFESP, Brasil

Prof. Paul Goodwin, TrAIN, University of the Arts London, UK

Renísia Cristina Garcia Filice, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasil 

Rokhaya Diallo, journaliste et réalisatrice, France

Roland DOR, Ligue Panafricaine – Umoja (LP-U)

Rosa Pires, PhD student in Sociology, Université du Québec à Montreal, Canada

Sama Abdoulaye, Ligue Panafricaine (LP-U)

Sâmia Bomfim, líder do Partido Socialismo e Liberdade (PSOL) na Câmara, Brasil 

Sara Martins, Golsmiths College, UK

Sarah Babiker, periodista de El Salto, España

Sarah Shamash, Emily Carr University, Canada

Sebijan Fejzula, Kale Amenge - Roma anti-racist movement

Sílvio Almeida, advogado, professor e Presidente do Instituto Luiz Gama, Brasil

Sónia Vaz Borges, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

Soraya El Kahlaoui, Ghent University, Belgique

Stefan Kipfer, York University, Toronto, Canada

Sueli Carneiro - Coordenadora Executiva do Geledés Instituto da Mulher Negra - São Paulo, Brasil

Suzana Lopes Salgado Ribeiro, Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso do Sul, Brasil

Tânia Mara Pereira Vasconcelos, Universidade do Estado da Bahia (UNEB), Brasil

Thayara Cristine Silva de Lima, GEPEAR-Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brasil

Thula Pires, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) & Movimento de Mulheres Negras no Brasil, Brasil

Ugo Palheta, Université de Lille, France

Vânia Gala, Kingston University, UK

Yannick Nagau, Ligue Panafricaine Umoja (LP-U)

Youssef M. Ouled, Periodista y activista antirracista, España

Yuderkys Espinosa, Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudio, Formación y Acción Feminista (GLEFAS), República Dominicana

Yuri Madalosso, Universidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL), Brasil


Collectives and Organizations 

Afroindigenas LGBT

Bruxelles Panthères, Belgique

Coletivo Antirracista Acotirene, Brasil

Coletivo Marginal (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Coletivo Nuvem Negra, Brasil

Collectif de Défense des jeunes du Mantois, France

Comité de Vigilance pour la Démocratie en Tunisie, Belgique

Conselho Municipal de Promoção da Igualdade Racial de Guarulhos, Brasil

DefarAskan, Sénégal)

Decolonial International Network (DIN Foundation) 

Front Démocratique (FD)

Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisa em Políticas, Ensino de História, Raça e Gênero (GEPPHERG) – 

Universidade de Brasília, Brasil

Grupo Prerrogativas, Brasil

International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD) - Team Spain, España

Instituto Cigano do Brasil (ICB), Brasil

Instituto de Defesa da População Negra, Brasil

Instituto Luiz Gama, Brasil

Islamophobia Studies Center, University of California - Berkeley, USA

Ligue Panafricaine Umoja (LP-U)

Mulheres Negras Decidem, Brasil

Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR), France

Rede Antirracista Quilombação, Brasil

Sindicato Manteros de Madrid, España

Transnational Decolonial QTPOC (Queer & Trans People of Color)

Uneafro Brasil, Brasil

by vários
Mukanda | 2 September 2020 | antiracism, Mamadou Ba