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16 March 2018 | | |

Shock in Brazil and the world over murder of feminist, black and left-wing councillor who was a reference of the popular struggle in Rio de Janeiro

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Vigils, mobilizations and different expressions of dismay and denunciation of the atmosphere of impunity that took over Brazil after the coup d´Etat perpetrated by Michel Temer, are taking place in different Latin American cities over the murder of Marielle Franco, councilor of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) in downtown Rio.

Marielle was murdered when the car that was carrying her was shot multiple times. Anderson Pedro Gomes, the driver of the vehicle, was also killed in the attack and her adviser, Fernanda Chavez, survived. This is another episode of the Coup and the State of Exception experienced in Brazil.

“A black feminist, daughter of the Favela”. This is how Marielle Franco described herself, who was the fifth most voted councilwoman in the 2016 municipal elections in Rio. She was also a mother and a social activist.

In February, she was appointed as president of the Truth Commission established to monitor the military intervention imposed in Rio by Michel Temer´s administration until the end of his mandate (December 2018).

As human rights defender and one of the strongest voices against the military occupation of favelas, Franco was an important voice in the struggle for social justice. A day before her murder, the young sociologist had denounced the brutal action and continued human rights abuses by the army in the Irajá region, in Acari community.

This Afro-Brazilian feminist leader led the electoral discussion for the defense of the favela inhabitants and proposed a project for the creation of a Dossier of Rio Women, with data about gender violence in the municipality.

According to the reports about the crime provided by the Brazilian police authorities, the vehicle was shot at least nine times from another car which first hit the one carrying the three victims. Therefore, the investigators believe this was a targeted attack. The perpetrators knew where Marielle was seated.

Denouncing police abuses in the poorest neighborhoods of the city and defending black women rights were some of the main activities of the activist murdered on Wednesday 14. Marielle herself was born in A Maré, a huge complex of favelas in the second most populated city of Brazil.

In response to this political femicide, social movements are mobilizing in and out of Brazil to expose the atmosphere of persecution against social activists in the country. The World Social Forum is taking place in Bahia state, while the Alternative World Water Forum is set to begin this Saturday in Brasilia, capital of the country, organized by environmental popular movements and against the privatization of rivers.

* Source Brasil de Fato, news website that has been covering the consequences of this murder that shook Latin America.

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