Image: The Guardian

Brazilian politician shot dead in Rio de Janeiro

City councillor and human rights activist Marielle Franco (38) was shot dead on 18th March 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, only a month after President Michel Temer had signed a decree putting the military in charge of security. This is the first time since the end of Brazilian dictatorship that such a norm has been issued in democracy. Her death serves as a reminder to the harsh realities of many communities across Brazil that are affected by oppressed gangs. 

Defined as a tireless social warrior by former president Dilma Roussef, Marielle was also a human rights activist and feminist who had been elected in 2016 as city councillor.  Only one day before she was killed, she had exposed on her twitter account another murder of a young man in the hands of the Military Police in Rio de Janeiro: she was critical of the federal intervention decreed by the government:

“Another murder of a young man who may be entering the PM’s (Military Police) account. Matthew Manu was leaving the church. How many more will have to die for this war to end?”

The only black representative in the city council, feminist, lesbian and part of the LGTB community, Marielle was born and grew up in Favela, a low income urban area in Brazil. An outstanding human rights activist, she was a voice for the people in such living conditions and that are often victims of gangs and military violence. She had a degree in social science and a master’s degree in public administration.

Apparently, Marielle was targeted. In what appears to be an execution, the car where Marielle and her driver were in, received nine shots by two men. Her assassination has raised mass protests in Brazil, demanding justice for this loss. Pressure is currently mounting on the authorities in Brazil to find the killers of Marielle Franco, as an open letter has been signed by many international activists, writers, journalists and actors.

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Carla Torres

MA candidate in Applied Human Rights, University of York. BA in Political Science, Buenos Aires, Argentina.