Authorities must investigate the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco

Authorities must investigate the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco

Marielle Franco seen by many as an activist for human rights and champion of women's rights, was killed on Rio's risky north side around 9:30 p.m. while her press secretary suffered minor injuries but was not shot.

Posters depicting councillor Marielle Franco on a wall the day after she was murdered, in Rio. Witnesses said that another vehicle drew up alongside her auto and two men fired nine shots at her.

A Rio public prosecutor who wished to remain anonymous said Franco's killing appeared to be politically motivated.

Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella called it a "brutal assassination" and Rio's Public Security Secretary Richard Nunes said in a statement that there will be "full investigation on the assassination".

Last month, President Michel Temer ordered the military to take command of Rio city and state police. An aide to Ms. Franco survived.

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Over the weekend, Franco called for "no more killing of young men" after the deaths of two young men in the local Acari favela.

So far there are no indications of improvement in security in the city.

Official figures revealed that on-duty police officers in Rio de Janeiro state killed 1,035 individuals between January and November 2017.

She was the only black female representative and one of seven women on the 51-seat city council, according to the New York Times.

A member of the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), she got the fifth highest vote count in Rio's 2016 council elections.

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- 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. How many more have to die for this war to end? The assassination made national and worldwide headlines, as demonstrators demanded a thorough investigation into the murder and vowed to carry on Franco's human rights work. She was a resident of one of the most impoverished communities in Rio known as the favela da Maré, and became known for her social work in the country's poorest and violence-impacted communities. "Matheus Melo was leaving church when he was killed", she wrote.

Deaths at the hands of Brazil's police have caused scrutiny in the past as well as a review of its human rights policies by the United Nations.

"In the women's fight, we are shattered", Lucia Cabral, who has worked with Franco on human rights issues, told Newsweek from a protest in Rio's city center.

Amnesty International's Brazil director, Jurema Werneck, said that Franco's murder was "yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil", adding that the Brazilian government "cannot stand by and let human rights defenders be killed with impunity". Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles, who is contemplating a bid for the presidency, said the assassination underscored the need of the Rio military operation.

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