Brazil: Marielle Franco assassinated

On 14 March, Marielle Franco, an outspoken representative of the Brazilian poor, was murdered with her driver in Rio de Janeiro after she had spoken at an event to empower black women. A city council member elected in 2016, she campaigned against police brutality. She became an expert on police violence at a time when one presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro – now second in the polls for October’s election – declared that ‘a policeman who doesn’t kill isn’t a policeman’. Tens of thousands of people in Rio de Janeiro and other cities across Brazil demonstrated in the days following her murder, demanding answers to the killing.

Marielle was a member of the Socialismand Liberty party who had strongly criticized acting President Temer’s military and federal police takeover of security in Rio’s slums from February. She was then chosen to be the speaker of the commission examining the deployment of federal security forces into Rio’s favelas. She had already been targeted by fake news claiming she was sponsored by drug dealers. Her sister Anielle said ‘I’m seeking justice with blood in my eyes’. A banner at a mass protest in Rio on 21 March read ‘Woman, mother, revolutionary, feminist, black, lesbian, fighter always’.

Alvaro Michaels

 

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