POLITICAL CRIME

Hundreds take to the streets to demand answers about Marielle Franco’s murder

Four months after councilwoman's execution, members of Brazil's Congress denounce lack of information on investigations

Mothers of victims of police brutality led the protest, including Marinete da Silva and 14-year-old Marcos Vinícius' mother Bruna Silva / Flora Castro/Brasil de Fato

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to protest against the absolutely lack of answers about the murder of councilwoman and human rights activist Marielle Franco 120 days after she and driver Anderson Gomes were executed on the streets of Rio. The demonstration “How many more will have to die to end this war?” was organized by Franco’s ex-advisors and several social movements.

The protest also demanded the end of police brutality and the military intervention in Rio. Franco’s family, as well as families of victims of police brutality, took part in the demonstration. The councilwoman’s mother, Marinete da Silva, spoke about how imperative it is to have answers about the crime.

“It wasn’t something that just happened, it was premeditated long before [it happened]. There was a mentor, someone who planned all that. So it’s unacceptable [to have no answers]. Not only because Marielle was a member of city council, but because a human being was executed. That’s not normal anywhere in the world. She and Anderson [Gomes, the driver who was with the councilwoman and was also shot to death] were innocent. This is why we demand justice for them,” she said.

One of Franco’s advisors, Mônica Francisco, said the military intervention conducted by the Michel Temer administration was not able to solve the crime or guarantee public safety to the people of Rio.

“The number of deaths has increased over these last four months, and it’s always the same victims, the black youth from the outskirts. We also see people are feeling unsafe pretty much because of a narrative of fear produced by the mainstream media. This is the scenario over these last four months of lack of answers about the execution of Marielle and the federal intervention,” she said.

Commission

The independent commission set up at Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies to oversee the investigations into Franco and Gomes denounced the lack of transparency in the case and criticized authorities during a press conference on Wednesday. Rapporteur Glauber Braga said most of the requests filed by the commission to the police authorities investigating the case were not responded to.

“As it has been for 120 days [since the crime happened], this commission must formally and firmly call out the federal and state governments, because we need the authorities to share the information [on the case] appropriately,” he said.

Congresswoman Maria do Rosário pointed out she finds the lack of information disrespectful to the work of the commission, which was set up the day after the murders, four months ago.

“We are outraged. As this commission is disrespected, the victims are disrespected. If we allow Marielle to be forgotten, we will allow all victims to be forgotten. If the State does not solve this case, which has moved society and the world, think about how it treats other victims’ families,” she argued.

On April 16th, Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister of Public Security, Raul Jungmann, said the police were making progress with the investigation and getting closer and closer to finding answers. More than two months ago, on May 7th, president Michel Temer said the case would be solved and answers would be announced “in no time.”

Congresswoman Jandira Feghali said the slow investigation only helps those responsible for the crime.

“A member of parliament was murdered, and we see it as a political crime. As representatives of the people, all lives that are taken every day matter to us, but this crime specifically is very symbolic. We have to understand what happened and especially the motive behind it,” she said.

*With reports by Flora Castro

Edition: Raquel Junia and Diego Sartorato | Translated by Aline Scátola