The Communist Party of Israel (CPI) sends its sincerest condolences to all progressive and democratic forces in Brazil on the murder of Rio de Janeiro city council member, Marielle Franco. The CPI is party to the grave concerns regarding the army’s involvement in the repression of the city’s residents, already suffering from poverty, crime and violence, which has collected yet another victim. Marielle Franco was a central leader in the struggle for human rights and for opening up the democratic sphere in Brazil. She was a symbol of a stubborn and relentless struggle.
The Communist Party of Israel expresses its solidarity with the people of Brazil against all illegitimate attempts by the government of President Michel Temer to attack social rights and the freedom of the masses, measures that are exacerbating the country’s poverty and incidence of crime.
Brazilian activist Marielle Franco, 38, was shot to death in downtown Rio de Janeiro on March 14 in what officials have deemed a political assassination. She had just left an evening event, “Young Black Women Who Are Changing Power Structures.” She was killed, along with her driver, Anderson Gomes, by assailants who shot with military precision through her car’s darkened windows. The ammunition used has been traced to batches sold to the federal police.
A woman of African descent, Franco was born in one of the largest favelas, the Maré complex. She was also a lesbian, a mother and a member of the LGBTQ community and the left Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL).
According to the portal Vermelho, Franco, a Rio city councilwoman, was a fierce critic of the military occupation of the city ordered by President Temer. She had just been appointed to lead a commission investigating its possible abuses. For years, she had led campaigns against police violence targeting Rio’s poor residents of color. Not long before her assassination, she went to the Acari favela, a poor neighborhood in Rio, to denounce recent murders there by the notorious 41st Battalion of police, which has been reported to have killed as many as 430 people during the last five years.
On March 15, thousands gathered in front of Rio’s City Hall where one speaker exhorted: “She always said, ‘Onwards, black women! When the lives of black women matter, then the world will be transformed.'” The crowds then marched and chanted: “I say no! No to military intervention! For Marielle!” Thousands also gathered at the World Social Forum in the Brazilian city of Salvador da Bahia. In grief and furious anger at the loss of this beacon of hope, the crowd chanted over and over: “Racistas! Fascistas! Não passarão!” (“Racists, Fascists, They shall not pass!”)