Marielle Franco, a prominent socialist activist, is murdered in Brazil.

WHILE IT has largely gone unnoticed and unreported in New Zealand, the assassination of Marielle Franco was met with anger and grief right across Brazil this week.

Marielle was a member of the Socialist and Liberty Party (PSOL). She was a gay black woman who, against the odds, was elected to the Rio de Janeiro City Council in 2016.

Immensely popular, Franco, 38, had become a voice for disadvantaged people in the teeming favelas (slums) that are home to almost one-quarter of Rio de Janeiro’s population,  where grinding poverty, police brutality and shootouts with drug gangs are routine.  Marielle herself was born and grew up in a favela.

In January, 154 people were killed as a result of police action in Rio de Janeiro, according to state government figures, a 57% increase from January 2017.

Marielle was shot while she was being driven across the central business district. Witnesses said that another vehicle drew up alongside her car and two men fired nine shots at her. Five of the bullets were said to have hit Ms Franco in the head. Her driver was also killed and a press officer who was in the back of the car was wounded.

She was returning home from an event about how young black people could change power structures.

Violence against left wing activists has increased dramatically since the democratically elected president Dilma Rousseff was illegally ousted in 2016 and replaced with the right wing government of Michael Temer. The coup against Rousseff was part of a plan to overthrow the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party, PT) government, a plan coordinated by the Brazilian mainstream media and the country’s political and economic elites.

A PT spokesperson tweeted ""Marielle was executed. The assassination was consummated today but it's the result of a plot forged by the barbaric nature that has taken hold of Brazil. Under fascism, extermination groups act in complete freedom."

Thousands of people attend the funeral of Marielle Franco.


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