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Brazil Erupts In Protests After Politician Marielle Franco Is Murdered

17 March 2018

On Wednesday night, two men fired nine shots from their vehicle into the auto that Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were in, killing them both, according to Reuters.

Those murdered include popular city councillor, Marielle Franco, whose funeral took place yesterday (March 15th), and environmental activist Paulo Nascimento.

Franco was shot several times as bullets sprayed her auto as it drove through Rio de Janeiro's risky north side. Her driver was also killed and a press officer was injured in the attack.

"The path of her own fight is what gives us the strength to carry on", said Danielle Ramos, 26, who was attending a rally in Rio de Janeiro in front of the city council building, along with thousands of others.

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Franco's shooting death came even after military members began policing the streets of Rio last month, following a spike in violence. She was shot at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Estacio, a downtown neighbourhood, as she was returning from an event about empowering black women in Brazil, a cause she passionately championed.

On Sunday 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. She was recently appointed rapporteur of a municipal commission to monitor the federal intervention in policing Rio de Janeiro. She was a vocal critic of police brutality and only a few days before her murder, she took to social media to accuse law-enforcement officials of killing innocent citizens. Franco had harshly criticized that move on Sunday, saying it could worsen police violence against residents.

Protests are now being planned across the country for Franco, a member of a leftist, socialist party who reportedly identified as part of the LGBT community and was elected to the Rio city council in 2016.

- Ana c!ara otoni (@anaclaraotoni) March 15, 2018#MarielleFranco was an expert on police violence and on Saturday accused officers of being overly aggressive in searching residents of gang-controlled shanty towns. Investigators are considering the possibility of a targeted assassination. Mathews Melo was leaving church.

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Before being gunned down, Ms Franco built a career standing up for the many others living in danger of bullets and abuse.

Amnesty International and the United Nations office in Brazil hailed Franco's endeavors in defense of human rights and racism and demanded a quick and transparent investigation into the killing.

The military intervention has sparked widespread concern, including from the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, who said soldiers "are not specialized in public security or investigation". Raul Jungmann, the minister of the newly established Public Security Ministry, said that federal police forces would help investigate her death.

Christian Aid has condemned this week's killings of human rights defenders in Brazil and called for urgent inquiries into their deaths.

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Brazil Erupts In Protests After Politician Marielle Franco Is Murdered