Councilwoman's Murder Deals Blow to Temer's Security Policy in Rio

Councilwoman's Murder Deals Blow to Temer's Security Policy in Rio

Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman who had become a symbol of hope for numerous city's poorest residents, was shot and killed Wednesday night in an attack police are preliminarily calling an assassination.

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

The official revealed details on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

A third person, an unidentified press officer, in the vehicle was injured by gunfire but survived.

On Feb. 16, Brazil's federal government handed control of public security in Rio to the military, the first such move since the end of the dictatorship here in 1985.

Franco says her political life began when she had just signed up for university on a special program for youths from favelas when her friend, also a student, was hit by a stray bullet.

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Legendary Brazilian singer Elza Soares, who is black, tweeted that this was "one of the few times when I can't find my voice".

- 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.

Her violent death underscores challenges in reducing bloodshed in Brazilian cities, many of which rank among the most violent in the world.

No suspects have been announced by police, but Franco, who was 38, had ruffled many feathers - and that was her mission. Matheus Melo was leaving church when he was killed. "How many others will have to die for this war to end?" she wrote. "Do you know how many pictures of dead Marielles I see every day?"

Franco was born and raised in one of Rio's impoverished communities, where she became an activist. "A woman like us, black, from the favela, who had a lot of strength to face the institutional challenges of the politics that always kept us distant", said Daiene Mendes, a journalism student. "Because of the work I see bodies ― or pieces of bodies ― daily in that occupied Rio de Janeiro, used by people like the politicians who chose to intervene militarily only as an electoral battle horse".

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