Socialist city council member & fighter against police violence assassinated in Rio de Janeiro

April 2018 Marielle protestingMarielle Franco ¡Presente! Socialist Action condemns the March 14 assassination of Marielle Franco, a city councilor in Rio de Janiero, and a militant of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSol) in Brazil. Anderson Pedro Gomes, the driver who accompanied Franco, was also the victim of this drive-by killing. Marielle was a frequent and vocal critic of police violence and the military occupation of Rio de Janiero.

SA joins in solidarity with the PSOL in demanding a rigorous and independent inquiry into this cowardly assassination.

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The PSol issued this statement: The Socialism and Liberty Party (PSol) publicly expresses its regret at the murder of our Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, and of Anderson Pedro Gomes, the driver who accompanied her.

We stand by the family, friends, advisors and party leaders of PSOL/RJ in this moment of pain and indignation. Marielle’s performance as a councilor and human rights activist made the party’s militants very proud and will be honored in the continuity of her struggle.April 2018 Marielle portrait

We cannot rule out the hypothesis of a political crime, that is, an execution. Marielle had just denounced the Military Police’s brutal and truculent action in the Irajá region of the Acari community. In addition, the characteristics of the crime, with a car coming alongside Marielle’s vehicle, and someone firing many shots and fleeing, strengthen that possibility. Therefore, we demand immediate and rigorous investigation of this heinous crime. We will not be silenced!

Marielle, presente! Hoje e sempre! 

— Socialism and Freedom Party, March 14, 2018

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Below, we reprint an article on the murder that appeared on the Left Voice website:

On Wednesday night [March 14], Marielle Franco, a city council representative for the Party of Socialism and Liberty, was assassinated in Rio de Janeiro. Franco was on her way home after speaking at a political meeting about Black youth when a someone pulled up next to her car and opened fire, hitting her nine times before speeding off. Both she and the driver of the car, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were killed. A press officer in the back seat was injured and is currently receiving medical care.

While Rio is well known for constant robberies, in this case, nothing was taken from the victims. Many are calling Franco’s murder an execution and are considering possible political motivation.

Franco, a Black woman, was born and raised in the favelas of Rio and was elected to city council in 2016. She was on a commision to investigate last month’s federal militarization of Rio de Janeiro, which lead to checkpoints around the city and massive violence in the poorest neighborhoods. Franco had been an outspoken critic of this military intervention.

In the days preceding her assassination, Franco made a series of statements against police violence. On Saturday, March 10, she posted on Facebook denouncing the police violence in the favela Acari, where the police had recently killed two youth and terrorized residents. One of her last tweets read: “Another homicide of a young man that could be credited to the police. Matheus Melo was leaving church when he was killed. How many others will have to die for this war to end?”

Already, many in Rio de Janeiro have called for a massive mobilization on Thursday against the genocide of Black people and for Marielle Franco. Activists in New York City have organized a protest as well.

While the police say they will take this crime seriously, many believe it was the police or the military who carried out this murder. In order for Franco to have justice, there must be an independent investigation of this crime. Rest in power, Marielle Franco.

Photos of Marielle Franco from http://www.psol50.org.br