Demonstrators took over the staircase of Rio de Janeiro’s City Council and the Cinelândia Square in remembrance of Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco and driver Anderson Gomes, to mark two months since their assassination. The police still have no answers about who was behind the crime. During the demonstration, protesters wrote words in honor of the victims on a banner and called for justice, as members of the parliament and social movements demanded that authorities take the necessary actions to solve the crime.
Talíria Petrone, a Niterói councilwoman, human rights activist, and friend of Franco’s, recalled that the councilwoman, who was originally from the Maré favela (slum) complex, was the woman who received the second largest number of votes for city council in the country. She was a feminist, LGBT, and black activist who denounced social inequality in Brazil.
“They tried to silence a voice who gave priority, not only through her speech but also through her body, to those who were marginalized, in a country that has not really abolished slavery and has not abolished a colonial mindset that kills us and kills the children of women like Marielle, women like us. In Brazil, for every 100 people who are killed, 71 are the same skin color as Marielle. And that cannot be treated as a minor issue in politics,” Petrone said.
For Silvia Mendonça, an activist from the Unified Black Movement (Movimento Negro Unificado – MNU), the Left in Brazil needs to start pushing Franco’s agenda and going to the outskirts to help raise people’s awareness. Mendonça recalled the time when she first met Franco, in 2014, when the two councilwomen fought for justice for the family of Claudia Silva Ferreira, who was killed in Rio de Janeiro after being dragged behind a police car for nearly 1,000 feet.
“We have to leave this building and pursue this unity among us, always. Just like the bourgeoisie and fascism have unity among them, we have to expand the awareness of our people who are not here today. We have to go to the territories, to the slums, and bring together people who are not here today,” she claimed.
During an interview to Brasil de Fato, Chico Alencar, a member of Brazil’s Parliament, and Marcelo Freixo, a member of Rio’s Legislative Assembly, criticized the investigation and the leak of a classified deposition about the case. The deposition incriminates local councilman Marcello Siciliano and former police officer Orlando Oliveira de Araújo, who are accused of ordering Franco’s execution. Alencar is a member of a committee who is overseeing the case and pointed out the investigation is flawed.
“We want to draw attention to what seems to be flawed in the investigation so far. The car where Marielle was in [when she was shot] was parked in an outdoor parking lot [after the murder]. They didn’t perform the necessary imaging test to analyze the bullet trajectory in the bodies. The investigators didn’t immediately hear the eyewitnesses found through investigative journalism efforts, not even before they were found. The forensic reconstruction was only performed 56 days after the crime,” Alencar pointed out.
Edited by: Raquel Júnia | Translated by Aline Scátola