Demand Justice for Slain Brazilian Activist Marielle Franco

Target: Michel Temer, President of Brazil

Goal: Seek justice for the assassination of activist Marielle Franco.

Unknown assailants murdered Brazilian activist Marielle Franco and her driver after they left a black women’s empowerment event on March 14 in Rio de Janeiro. The perpetrators fired 13 shots from two separate vehicles, striking Franco four times in the head. According to reports, the ammunition belonged to local law enforcement – prompting some to believe that this was a deliberate operation. Many say the slain 38-year-old was another victim of state-sponsored violence in Brazil. Before her death, Franco was elected to the City Council with over 46,000 votes due to her progressive platform – ranging from fighting corruption to empowering women of color.

Supporters also say Franco was targeted by clandestine militia after denouncing the recent military occupation in Rio. In February, Brazilian President Michel Temer issued a decree replacing traditional police officers with federal soldiers to combat escalating gang wars. As an eloquent activist from the Maré favela, Franco passionately fought against the brutality her community faces from authorities. More than half of Brazil’s population is mixed-race or black, yet they experience disproportionate amounts of harassment and violence from law enforcement officers. Atrocities on Afro-Brazilians largely go unpunished, whether they be shootings, unwarranted strip searches, or intimidation.

At this point, it’s evident that Temer isn’t doing much to shine a spotlight on the Franco tragedy. Over one month has passed and the investigation seems to be going nowhere. In reality, Temer may have a conflict of interest. Not so long ago he was indicted for accepting millions of dollars in political bribes, not to mention his support for military infiltration in the first place. Recently, he even cut social welfare programs under the guise of austerity measures. Prevent Franco’s culprits from escaping legal persecution by pressuring Temer to get his priorities straight and send the military back where they belong.


Dear President Temer,

It has been over one month since activist and Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco was assassinated because of her political undertakings. Most likely this is a consequence of your decision to militarize Rio’s police department in hopes of counteracting gang violence in surrounding favelas. However, do you realize more people are getting killed in the process? Do you see that your country is turning increasingly more authoritarian? How can you call Brazil a democracy when over 60 human rights defenders perished last year? If you actually cared about improving the lives of Brazilians, you would demilitarize Rio de Janeiro and help expedite the investigation of Franco’s murder.

The late Franco was dedicated to breaking down boundaries and transforming society. Not only did she challenge the status quo, she also brought hope and inspiration to many under-represented citizens petrified of becoming the next statistic. Your promise to bring stability to Brazil is a farce considering that innocent folks are dying everyday at the hands of corrupt security officers. Allowing institutional racism, violence, and impunity to continue will only ensure more suffering. One thing is for certain – the answer to Brazil’s woes does not lay in occupying civilian communities. Instead, seek reparations for Franco and continue her legacy of uplifting marginalized Afro-Brazilians.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mídia NINJA

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One Comment

  1. Gen Agustsson says:

    justice for all activists now!

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