“How many more will have to die for this war to stop?”
That was the last message Mariella Franco posted on her social media. She was referring to the death of a young man who was leaving a church, in Brazil, apparently murdered by police officers.
Marielle Franco was a 38 years old leader – born in a favela (Brazilian slums), Sociologist with a Master’s degree in Public Administration, Afro-descendant, and member of the Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSOL), (Socialism and Liberty Party), she was a young, black female who advocated herself against the oppression and violence of the state in Rio de Janeiro.
She had reached the city’s council with over 40,000 votes, meaning she was the fifth most voted person in the last elections, she was also a vocal critic of police violence against civilians, and dedicated her life to denounce the atrocities perpetrated by those who own the country against the poor, black, and unprivileged communities of Rio de Janeiro.
On the 14th of March 2018, Franco was killed around 21:00h in the neighborhood of Estácio, the central region in Rio de Janeiro, alongside her driver Anderson Gomes. She was killed with a 9mm gunshots that were part of a lot acquired by the PF (Policia Federal) or Federal Policy of Rio, back in 2006.
Even though an investigation has been opened, it is a well-known fact that in Rio there are several networks that deal with the trafficking of weapons where many policemen, penitentiary guards, and military personnel are involved. Franco was one of the councillors that would often speak out against these networks.
There is also another investigation in place, where the Policia Civil de Rio (Rio’s Civil Police) is in charge in order to determine the origin of the bullets, according to the Policia Federal (Federal Police).
Time to Protest
Rio de Janeiro was flooded with massive protests on Friday, March 16, paying tribute to Marielle Franco. Apparently, in Rio de Janeiro more than 50,000 participants manifested against the killing, most light posts were covered with images of Marielle’s face, and they all held the message ‘’Marielle Presente’’ or ‘’Marille is present’’.
Marielle’s daughter, Luyara Santos, posted on Twitter: ‘’They killed my mother and more than 46,000 voters’’.
Temer is in Power
The murder of Franco coincided with the first month of the military intervention declared by President Michel Temer. This intervention consists of letting the army be in charge of the national and public security defense, and, of course, managing the local police factions.
Franco was an active member of the Parliamentary Commission against the para-policial militias in the Deliberant Council of Rio, so, Brazilians are wondering whether this homicide is a direct consequence of the intervention that Temer has declared, and, if so, many are left wondering whether such a drastic measure was truly necessary.
It remains to be seen whether this homicide and therefore Temer’s military intervention will have a negative impact on the upcoming election that will be held in October.