Marielle Franco, who served as a city councilor in Rio de Janeiro, was shot dead yesterday night, around 9:30 p.m. According to witnesses, a group of men in a car approached Franco’s vehicle and opened fire without saying anything. Her driver was also killed, and a third person was injured.
Since no belongings were taken from Franco’s car, the police suspect that the incident was a hit job. Marielle Franco, a member of the extreme-left-wing party PSOL, was leaving an event called “Young Black Women Moving Structures.”
A vocal critic of the police
A day before her murder, Franco used Twitter to share some harsh criticism of Rio’s Military Police. “Yet another young man who could be going to college is killed because of the police. How many more will it take for this war to end?”
The federal government published a statement saying that it will closely follow the investigation. Raul Jungmann, the Minister of Public Safety, said that the Federal Police will be available to help local forces.
Who was Marielle Franco?
38-year-old Franco was the fifth-highest voted city councilor in 2016, her electoral debut. A sociologist with a master’s degree in public administration, she researched the impact of Rio’s Pacifying Police Units presence in the city’s favelas. Before moving into politics, Franco worked in several NGOs fighting for human rights.