A Portuguese dad is recovering in hospital today after being beaten up by four men. Witnesses say the attackers were all young black Bermudians.

Rui Madeiros was attacked outside Docksiders after Wednesday's World Cup semi-final game between France and Portugual.

Witnesses say the thugs hurled "racist abuse" at Mr. Madeiros saying he should "go back to his own country" because the Portuguese were taking all the jobs.

The father of two was attacked from behind and punched and kicked in the face.

Mr. Madeiros, 31, who runs a construction and landscaping company, was in surgery for more than two hours yesterday as plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Johnson tried to reconstruct his face.

The trouble started right after the match, which Portugal lost to France. Witnesses say they saw a young black Bermudian man move from the backroom into the front bar with a Portuguese flag and a lighter in his hand.

When he got to the front bar the flag was already on fire.

Mr. Madeiros' younger brother told the man to cut it out, which is when a scuffle started. Mr. Madeiros intervened, trying to calm everyone down. As he was walking out of the bar, he was jumped on from behind and pounded repeatedly until he fell on the floor. Three other black Bermudians joined in, kicking him over and over again. Witnesses say bystanders just laughed and that men riding by on motorbikes stopped and laughed, too, also hurling "racist abuse."

One Portuguese woman witness said: "It made me sick. I thought somebody was going to die. There were a lot of racist slurs. One guy said. 'You shouldn't be here. You should go back to where you came from. That's why us black people are suffering because of you lot.'

"One guy just keptpunching him and punching him and then the other guys jumped in. It was definitely a racist attack."

Mr. Madeiros' wife, Manuela, was at her husband's bedside yesterday. She said: "It's very sad because my husband is a very nice person. He's never been in trouble, he's hardworking and an excellent, loving father." The couple married nine years ago and have two girls, eight and 18 months.

Mr. Madeiros was still recovering from the surgery yesterday afternoon and couldn't speak to us. He didn't want his photograph taken because he doesn't want people to see how messed up his face is.

Dr. Johnson said he has a "blow out fracture" to his eye socket and a fractured nose. He said: "It was nearly lethal. The kick to his face was so violent it knocked the floor out of his eye socket."

Mr. Madeiros' aunt, who was at the hospital yesterday, spoke to him before he went into surgery. She said: "His brother told the guy to stop burning the flag, that it's a crime to burn a flag from someone's country, but the guy started cursing him and making deregatory comments about being Portuguese."

She continued: "Rui tried to intervene. He thought the argument was over but as he was walking outside he felt a guy punch him on the back of his head. He said he felt dizzy and fell on floor. That's when they started kicking him in the face."

Aftermath

The aunt happened to be driving by Docksiders on her way to work. She didn't see the fight, but she did see the aftermath. "He had his Portuguese scarf holding his face — it was full of blood. He had one eye closed and was shaking — he couldn't say much," she said.

Police responded to a call shortly before 6.30pm. The Bermuda Sun understands Mr. Madeiros was already at the hospital and was in too much pain to speak to them. Spokesman Dwayne Caines said the investigation will continue today.

The Docksiders' manager who was on duty at the time was unavailable to speak to yesterday. Other staff were not prepared to comment.