This outspoken critic of police brutality was just murdered in what Rio’s mayor called a “brutal assassination.”
Marielle Franco was a city council member, serving her first term in Rio de Janeiro. She and her driver were fatally shot in their car by two men, and police believe it was a targeted attack.
Franco grew up in and worked closely with Rio’s “favelas,” the city’s slums that are notorious for their gang violence and poverty. The 38-year-old spoke out against aggressive policing in the favelas. She also identified as a lesbian and introduced bills that would have fought sexual violence and incarceration of black youth, stating, “Until I went to university, I did not know the city even though I was born and always lived in Rio. Rio de Janeiro is not a fair democratic or egalitarian city. [Progress] is a question of how to start from a place of the demands we have — the demands of favelas for basic rights.”
Rio’s mayor called for three days for mourning and thousands visited Rio’s council chamber to pay their respects. Several protests were also held across Brazil.
Earlier this month, Franco was appointed to a commission to monitor the military takeover of Rio’s security. The day before she died, Franco tweeted about police violence in response to a recent violent death in Rio.