BTR News (RIO DE JANEIRO) – Tens of thousands are protesting as they mourn the loss of human rights activist and city council member Marielle Franco, who was shot and killed in Rio de Janiero along with her driver. Her press secretary, who was traveling in the same vehicle, suffered minor injuries but was not shot. Franco who came from poor beginnings was a champion for human rights in Brazil and spoke out against the rampant killings of mostly poor people by police who last year killed about 1,0000 people, slightly less than those killed by police in the United States. Police and other state violence is indeed a global problem.
Just last week Councilwoman Franco was at odds with those who want to bring the Brazilian Army in the city to patrol the streets to address poverty-related violence where the street market for drugs thrives just as it does in nations that employ the prohibition policies that have led to violence and a rise in the prison population. Franco, part of a commission to oversee the military intervention, was a harsh critic of the policy and said it could worsen police violence against residents. However, even street gang leaders are mourning Franco and say that they believe hers was a political assassination in a nation where such killings seem to be commonplace.
Earlier this week on her Facebook page, Franco decried what she alleged to be the police killing of two boys during a police raid in an area called Acari which is poor.
“We must scream out so that all know what is happening in Acari right now. Rio’s police are terrorizing and violating those who live in Acari,” Franco wrote. “This week two youth were killed and tossed into a ditch. Today, the police were in the street threatening those who live there. This has been going on forever and will only be worse with a military intervention.”
Marielle Franco was just 38 yrs old and a rising star in the Socialism and Liberty Party. The poor and downtrodden people of her city have lost a beautiful soul and tireless advocate who will be hard to replace but right now, her thousands of supporters are demanding justice for a fearless woman who had demanded justice for so many other people.