City councilors disrupt Marielle Franco tribute

marielle franco tribute
Demonstrators during a 2018 tribute to Marielle Franco in São Paulo. Photo: Elizabeth Paik/Shutterstock

City councilwomen from Curitiba, the capital of southern Brazilian state Paraná, were interrupted 12 times as they tried to pay homage to Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro city councilor murdered four years ago almost to the day. The crime is arguably the highest-profile case of political violence in Brazilian recent history and remains unsolved.

Far-right politicians mocked Ms. Franco, calling her a drug addict and suggesting that she had links with drug gangs — two pieces of information which have been debunked by fact-checking agencies on multiple occasions in the four years since her death.

In her last speech in the city council before her death, Ms. Franco was also interrupted several times by her colleagues. “I won’t be interrupted. I can’t put up with interruptions from the members of this house. I won’t put up with citizens who come here and don’t know how to listen to the position of an elected woman,” she said at the time.

The Curitiba City Council voted on whether to hold a tribute to Marielle Franco, but the motion was denied. It is the first time in 11 years that the Curitiba council has rejected calls for a tribute, according to news website Plural. 

One of the official reasons for the denial is that Ms. Franco had no direct relationship with Paraná. However, the council has already paid homage to the late South African President Nelson Mandela and former Pernambuco Governor Eduardo Campos.

The symbolism of Marielle Franco — a black queer woman from the favela who was murdered in a brutal fashion — has ignited violent reactions from the far-right. In 2018, a group of politicians — including a member of Congress and a former Rio de Janeiro governor — tore a street sign bearing her name.