- Title: Murdered Brazilian councilwoman finalist for Sahkarov Prize
- Date: 22nd October 2019
- Summary: ACTIVISTS DURING EVENT
- Embargoed: 5th November 2019 14:10
- Keywords: Brazil environment activisim Marielle Franco EU Sakharov Prize
- Location: RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL
- City: RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA003B26JWAV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Former Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, an outspoken critic of police killings of poor residents who was gunned down in 2018, is a finalist for the Sahkarov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Franco, who was 38 at the time of her death, was a rising star in the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) was killed along with her driver in northern Rio in March 2018.
Her killing came weeks after the federal government decreed that Brazil's Army would take over all security operations through the end of that year in Rio, where murders have spiked in recent years. Franco had harshly criticized that move, saying it could worsen police violence against residents.
In 2016, Franco had received over 46,500 votes.
Franco was raised and lived in Mare, a complex of slums where about 130,000 residents must contend with the presence of Rio's two most powerful gangs - the Red Command and the Pure Third Command, along with militias often made up of off duty or retired police and fireman, who are as feared as the gangs. She was a black, openly gay and progressive councilwoman.
High-level members of both the Red Command and the Pure Third Command told Reuters their gangs had nothing to do with the killings. It was impossible to reach any militia members.
Her killing sent shock waves through Brazil and sparked days of protests.
Two former police officers were arrested in connection with the murder just days before the first anniversary of her death.
The European Parliament will announce the winner of the prize on Thursday (October 24).
(Production: Sergio Queiroz, Leandra Camera)
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