The uproar caused by the murder of City Council member Marielle Franco (PSOL), 38, has reinforced concerns regarding Rio's federal intervention and put pressure on the military, now responsible for policing the city.
Marielle Franco, a rising star of Brazilian politics, has been murdered in what appeared to be a political assassination.
A member of the Socialism and Liberty Party, or PSOL, Franco was returning home from an event called "Young Black People Moving the Structures" in Lapa neighborhood when, according to witnesses, her vehicle was approached by another auto.
Franco, 38, was an openly serving lesbian politician who fought for minorities across Rio de Janeiro, where she grew up in one of the many favelas. A press officer was also in the back of Franco's auto but survived.
After news of her death, nationwide protests were scheduled with more than 70,000 people and organizations confirming planned demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro. Many of those who took to the streets say that they hope that these two deaths will promote a national movement, just as USA 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. She was shot at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Estacio, a downtown neighbourhood, as she was returning from an event about empowering black women in Brazil, a cause she passionately championed. Commenting on the death of a youth, she said: "One more homicide of a young man that may be put towards the police count. Meanwhile, the military intervention (in Rio de Janeiro state) search book sacks of kids who live in favelas". She was proud of her roots in Rio's impoverished, majority black favelas and earned a name as a fierce critic of alleged police atrocities.
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A member of a leftist party, Franco was also known for her social work in slums.
A "full investigation" is going to be carried out over the death, confirmed the head of public security Richard Nunes. "Matheus Melo was leaving church when he was killed", she wrote. "How many more people need to die before this war ends?" "They come to kill our young!" she said.
As night fell on Thursday, crowds gathered in Rio, Sao Paulo and several other cities, with protesters holding aloft banners calling for justice and an end to Brazil's endemic violence. On Tuesday, United Nations human rights officials issued a statement expressing "profound concern" about the intervention, which they warned could lead to human rights violations.
Another police official said that the killers must have known exactly where she was sitting in a auto that had tinted windows. AI's Brazil director, Jurema Werneck, cited the shooting as "yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil" and stated that the "Brazilian authorities must ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into this tragic killing".