Brazilian Activist Marielle Franco, Who Protested Police Violence, Has Been Assassinated

Brazilian Activist Marielle Franco, Who Protested Police Violence, Has Been Assassinated

Some 1,000 people stood under the tropical sun outside City Hall to greet the coffin of Marielle Franco, 38, who was murdered late Wednesday.

People cry on the sidewalk next to scene where council member Marielle Franco and her driver have where shot to death by two unidentified attackers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, March 15, 2018.

Franco says her political life began when she had just signed up for university on a special program for youths from favelas when her friend, also a student, was hit by a stray bullet. Her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, was also killed, and an aide was injured.

Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella called it a "brutal assassination" and Rio's Public Security Secretary Richard Nunes said in a statement that there will be "full investigation on the assassination". Many of those who took to the streets say that they hope that these two deaths will promote a national movement, just as United States students in Parkland, Florida formed a movement to protest against lenient gun laws after the shooting at one of the district's high school last month.

Black, lesbian and unusually vocal in castigating alleged killings by out-of-control police units in Rio's impoverished favelas, she had no interest in keeping a low profile.

Brazil's federal government had, a few week ago, declared that the country's army would take over security operations through the end of the year in Rio, a city with a very sharp rise in murder cases.

Police violence is a human rights crisis in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. The councilwoman opposed the move to militarize policing functions in the city.

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Franco, a popular local LGBTQ and human rights activist, grew up in one of Rio's largest favelas, and rose to political prominence by denouncing economic inequality and police brutality.

Franco, who was first elected to represent the left-wing Socialism and Liberal party in Rio in 2016, was 38 years old and identified as LGBT.

- Ana c!ara otoni (@anaclaraotoni) March 15, 2018#MarielleFranco was an expert on police violence and on Saturday accused officers of being overly aggressive in searching residents of gang-controlled shanty towns. "How many more need to die for this war to end?"

Protests were planned in several cities Thursday evening, and Franco's party called for a march in Rio on Friday.

Officials have confirmed that it appears Franco was specifically targeted and not shot in a random attack.

"Matheus Melo was leaving the church". This week two young men were killed ... Raul Jungmann, the minister of the newly established Public Security Ministry, said that federal police forces would help investigate her death.

Flowers, pictures and condolence messages are amassing outside the city council offices, paying tribute to a charismatic young woman with a long record of championing social causes in a metropolis plagued by issues of violence, race and poverty.

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