Outspoken Brazilian Councilwoman Marielle Franco Killed Shortly After Speaking Out, Yet Again, Against Police Brutality
Marielle Franco, an outspoken Brazilian councilwoman and supporter of human rights for the impoverished, was killed in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. This tragic news has left the Brazilian city in shambles with non-stop protests and unrest.
Have you been to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? I’m not talking about visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue or the Copacabana beach. Believe it or not, the city is a hot bed for racism. If you’ve never been, then watch the film City of God. That should give you all the perspective you need on how black citizens are treated in that country.
For councilwoman Marielle Franco, she used her voice to speak on the injustices that her fellow black people faced, particularly when it came to police brutality. As a kid who grew up in a favela, a sort of Brazilian “ghetto,” if you will, she saw many incidences of police intrusion, so as she got older, those experiences fueled her to be a defender of people who lived in those communities.
According to the New York Times, Franco suggested that the death of a 23-year-old man, Matheus Melo, was the result of police brutality. The story didn’t get much coverage considering that Melo was a poor black man among many others who had been killed at the hands of the police. Sparse coverage wasn’t surprising, but it was upsetting.
“How many more must die for this war to end?” Franco wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
The next day, the 38-year-old activist was sprayed with bullets while inside her car, killing her and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes.
A press officer was sitting next to Franco, but according to The Los Angeles Times, he was injured, not killed.
People took to the streets of Rio to display their sadness and anger that their beloved human rights champion was murdered. Many of them believe she was assassinated, and activists are calling for the authorities to investigate it as such.
The people are also angry because the country of Brazil has turned the other way when its black people have died at the hands of the ones who are supposed to protect them.
“We will continue denouncing the genocide against black people, to keep saying that slavery is not over, to keep saying and denouncing what they do with our bodies. They killed my friend. They killed our colleague, but if they think that it will make us go back, they are wrong!” one female protester said.