City Councilor and Leading Rights Activist Shot Dead in Downtown Rio de Janeiro

Marielle Franco speaking at a campaign rally in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Photo: Mídia Ninja/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Less than two hours before she was murdered on the evening of March 14, Rio de Janeiro city councilor Marielle Franco was speaking at a roundtable of black women activists about “young black women moving the structures”.

As Franco was leaving the site, a car pulled up to the side of her own vehicle and fired nine shots into it. Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were killed on the spot. The councilor’s press officer, who was in the backseat, was hit by glass fragments and injured but survived.

Bearing all the hallmarks of an execution, the attack has sent shockwaves through Brazil including social media. Nationwide protests have been scheduled for the next couple of days. More than 70,000 people and organisations have confirmed their presence in the demonstration in Rio de Janeiro.

Marielle Franco was elected with the leftist Socialist and Freedom Party (PSOL) in 2016 as the fifth most voted councilor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second-largest city with a population of over six million.

As a young, black, favela-bred lesbian woman activist, she championed several underrepresented demographics in Brazil’s institutional politics and was beloved by activists across the country.

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Source: Global Voices

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