Protests are planned across Brazil after a popular Rio city councillor and her driver were shot dead by two men in what appears to have been a targeted assassination.
Marielle Franco was a groundbreaking politician who had become a voice for disadvantaged people in the teeming favelas that are home to almost one-quarter of Rio de Janeiro’s population, where grinding poverty, police brutality and shootouts with drug gangs are routine.
Richard Nunes, Rio’s head of public security, said there would be a “full investigation” into the deaths, which came despite the military taking charge of policing the city last month after a surge in violence.
Two police officials told Associated Press that two men in a car fired nine shots into the vehicle carrying Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. A press officer in the back seat was injured, but survived, the officials said. Both officials said it appeared Franco was targeted.
Franco was a black woman who defied the odds of Rio politics to win the fifth-highest vote count among council members when she was elected in 2016. She was an expert on police violence and had recently accused officers of being overly aggressive in searching residents of gang-controlled shantytowns. A member of a leftist party, Franco was also known for her social work in slums. She was in her first term in office.