Brazil: a statue of Marielle Franco, elected assassinated, inaugurated in Rio

Brazil: a statue of Marielle Franco, elected assassinated, inaugurated in Rio

A statue of Brazilian Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro city councilor whose murder in 2018 remains unsolved, was inaugurated on Wednesday, the day the black activist would have celebrated her 43rd birthday.

Sculpted by Brazilian artist Edgar Duvivier, the life-size bronze statue, which was funded by donations, was erected in Buraco do Lume, a square in central Rio where Ms. Franco held public meetings to report during of his tenure on City Council.

“In an extremely racist society, a statue of Marielle Franco is there to remind us of the world we want to build,” said Monica Benicio, the adviser’s partner.

The monument shows Marielle Franco smiling and raising her left fist.

Born in the Maré complex, one of the largest sets of favelas in Rio, Marielle Franco was shot dead with her driver, Anderson Gomes, on March 14, 2018, at the age of 38. Her car was riddled with bullets as she was returning from a meeting downtown.

This assassination had caused great emotion in Brazil but also abroad.

Member of the left-wing PSOL party, lesbian and mother of a daughter now 23, Marielle Franco was a long-time activist against police violence and for the rights of residents of poor neighborhoods, including young blacks, women and members of the LGBT community.

More than four years after his death, many gray areas remain about his assassination.

In March 2019, authorities arrested two former police officers, Ronnie Lessa, 48, a suspected gunman, and Elcio de Queiroz, 46, suspected of driving the vehicle his sidekick was in.

The two men are also suspected of being linked to the paramilitary militias which sow terror in certain popular districts of Rio.

They deny having taken part in the crime and remain imprisoned pending trial.

But the police have still not elucidated two essential questions: who had Marielle Franco killed, and why?

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