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Rising Afro-Brazilian Politician Marielle Franco Has Died in a Targeted Assassination in Rio

The city council member was known for her social work in Brazil's favelas and critiques of the police.

Marielle Franco, a popular Afro-Brazilian city council member, was killed alongside her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes by two attackers on a downtown street in Rio de Janeiro last night, The Guardian reports.

She was 38 serving her first term in office.


Rio's head of public security, Richard Nunes, says there would be a "full investigation" into the killings, despite the military's takeover of policing in the city last month from the surge in violence.

According to Dr. Keisha-Khan Y. Perry on Twitter, Franco participated in a panel discussion entitled, "Black Women Moving Structures," shortly before she was killed. Franco streamed the conversation live on her Facebook page. You can view it here.

Police officials say two men in a car fired nine shots into the car carrying Franco and Gomes. A press officer was shot in the back seat—but survived. Officials believe Franco was targeted.

READ: The Seeds of Marielle: These Courageous Afro-Brazilian Women Are Running for State Office Despite the Odds

Franco was a proud Afro-Brazilian and an underdog in Rio politics. She won the fifth highest vote count among council members when she was elected in 2016. She was a police violence expert and recently accused officers of being overly aggressive when searching homes in gang-controlled favelas, The Guardian says.

A member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSOL), Franco was known for her social work in the favelas. Her party called for a march on Friday to protest violence in Rio.

Brazil's public security minister, Raul Jungmann, says federal police will help in the investigation of her death.

Mourners have gathered on social media to laud her commitment to the community and for her radical activism.

UPDATE: Thousands have gathered in Brazil to mourn the loss of Franco as the bodies arrive to City Hall. Watch live via teleSUR English here for the first streaming, here for the second, or below.

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