Franco, who was raised and lived in the Mare complex of slums, long one of Rio's more unsafe areas, received over 46,500 votes in the 2016 election.
Marielle Franco, a 38 year-old black politician born in one of Rio's slums, was returning home from an event in the city center late Wednesday when a vehicle pulled alongside hers and opened fire, local media reported.
Marielle Franco, 38, a rising star in the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), was killed along with her driver on Rio's risky north side around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
She had recently been appointed to a city commission to monitor the intervention, and in the days before her murder, she used social media to blast Rio's police and military authorities for targeting poor favela residents. "Matheus Melo was leaving the church". In the post, she questioned the action of the Military Police. And she vowed to fight for them.
On Sunday on her Facebook, Franco decried what she alleged to be the police killing of two boys during a police raid in an area called Acari. "How many more have to die?" asked one. Today, the police were in the street threatening those who live there.
Franco's killing comes as the recent military takeover of security in Rio appears to be showing few positive results. "It has happened since forever, and with the intervention it got even worse".
#MarielleFranco was part of a vocal young generation of Black Brazilians. Her driver was also killed, ans a press officer was injured.
Twitter users were distraught upon hearing about Franco's death.
Ms. Franco, 38, was a black, gay woman from Maré, one of the city's most violent favelas, who became a human-rights activist and then an elected politician - an exceedingly rare figure in a country where white men from a traditional elite still predominate in politics.
Her death was confirmed by councilman Tarcisio Motta (PSOL), who said that "several indications point to an execution".
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. "Do you know how many pictures of dead Marielles I see every day?"
Franco's murder will nearly assuredly become a symbol of the dangers that Rio's favela residents face each day, especially as the bulk of the city's violence continues to target its poorest residents and the people who work on their behalf. "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 made a decision to intervene militarily only as an electoral battle horse".
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