In 2019, a black Chilean dog sporting a red bandana became the face of the New York subway protests which rocked the city last year.
Much like the anti-racism protests across the United States following the police killing of 46-year-old African-American man George Floyd, several groups took to the streets last year to speak up against police brutality on African American and brown youths in the subways. For instance, in October 2019, a young African American boy was beaten up by the police in the subway.
Posters and animations of the dog, during the protest, cropped up in different parts of the city. Meet El Negro Matapacos, who made his mark in 2011 when he appeared alongside student protestors in Chile. The student protests of Chile that year saw groups of students demanding a change in the framework of education in the country.
El Negro would be present at most protests, but he never hurt a civilian. The only time the dog turned aggressive was when the police attacked students.
An article by The Conservation states that a study of the dog's psyche reveals that the dog joined the protest voluntarily and helped students out of his volition. His name originally translates to 'Black cop killer'.
Throughout the protests, El Negro stood by his friends, supported them and protected them from violence. He hated water canons but withstood those for the sake of the protestors. And photos of El Negro demonstrate that he understood solidarity and the power of standing up for what's right just like humans did.
A documentary on the dog says that he died in 2017, in the presence of those who cared for him.
With the killing of Floyd by four policemen, one of whom had him pinned to the ground by his neck under his knee while arresting him, the dog and what he stands for has once again become relevant in the US. Even as violent clashes between police and protesters continued throughout last week, many on social media have been sharing posters, photographs and artwork of El Negro.
Here's a thread that speaks about El Negro's life and times and what the dog means for protestors: