Note from BW of Brazil: There shouldn’t be any surprise here. Of course, we still don’t have any certainty of the killers who took the life of Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco last Wednesday, but again, when we consider Franco’s tweets about the violent tactics of the Military Police in Rio’s favelas, it would be foolish not to see these same forces as prime suspects for her murder. In this fact, we have a motive, we also know that the bullets that took Franco’s life were those of the Military Police. We’ve seen the occupation-like presence of the Military Police and now Brazilian army in these low-income neighborhoods. But perhaps these facts aren’t convincing enough. But do consider how you would feel if you were to hear constant, loud rifle shots from a distance of your own backyard.
In the video below, taken from YouTube and the DCM website, a resident of the Acari favela, the same one in which Franco denounced police violence before her murder, spoke out about tactics used by a certain battalion on the Military Police. Check out her description in the second paragraph below. Listen to the rounds being fired before she says “I’m really scared” (Eu to com muito medo…”)
Violence of the 41st Battalion, denounced by councilwoman killed, increased with military intervention
Since the federal government announced the federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro security a month ago, the incursions of the 41st Military Police Battalion, considered the most deadly in the state, have become more constant and violent, according to activists and residents of Acari, in Rio’s north zone. The same voices say that those who dare to denounce the truculence of the police are threatened.
On Sunday, March 11th, the community was awakened around 6am with many shots and the arrival of three caveirões, armored vehicles used by the PM in incursions into the favelas. “There was a lot of shooting, a lot of shooting. They were breaking gates, entering houses without warrants, photographing residents and IDs, in some places they broke furniture. They walked the streets of the community, and that I can speak with propriety because it happened on my street, shouting that they would only leave when they killed three, four, around here,” says Buba Aguiar, a resident and member of the collective Fala Akari.
The death of Marielle Franco: ex-president of PSOL believes in guilt of the police
The former president of the Socialist and Freedom Party (PSOL), Luiz Araújo, said that soldiers of the 41st Battalion of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police are currently the main suspects in the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes , who were the victims of a shooting attack in downtown Rio de Janeiro last Wednesday night.
In an interview with Sputnik Brasil on Thursday, 15, Araújo said that, as far as what is known, Marielle didn’t received any kind of direct threat against her life before last Wednesday’s execution. According to him, the councilwoman was punished for her struggle to defend human rights and against violence in Rio de Janeiro.
“Yesterday [the day before yesterday, in fact] (last week), she had made a report of the execution of a boy who was leaving the church and was executed by the police,” he said.
According to the former president of PSOL, Marielle’s death draws attention to the fact that, despite the struggle of people like her, human rights violations continue to grow in Brazil. Still, he believes that the great commotion caused by this tragedy can serve to “change the treatment level” of this important issue in Brazil.
“In Rio de Janeiro today, you have people openly defending extermination, working with the fear of the population to improve the approval of an illegitimate government and without any popular support. Fear is a very powerful thing,” he commented. “It’s used it to make human rights even more precarious in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Maybe Marielle’s death doesn’t inspire a revision of that?”
According to Araújo, everything indicates that the execution of the councilwoman was planned, “from a reaction”:
“I do not have the elements to point out the culprits. We are demanding that the investigation be rigorous so that the culprits are found,” he said, adding that the crime must have direct links to the latest allegations made by the victim. “The staff there in the 41st Battalion are the top suspects, but we do not have proof.”
Also in an interview with Sputnik Brasil, the current president of thePartido Socialismo e Liberdade (PSOL or Socialism and Freedom Party), Juliano Medeiros, reinforced the discourse of his predecessor, that the representative of the murdered municipal legislature hadn’t received threats. For him, the event of Wednesday night provokes, at the same time, much sadness and also much indignation, which should serve as fuel to face the escalation of violence throughout the country.
“Without a doubt, it’s the worst time in the history of PSOL. Everyone admired Marielle very much, she was a party companion, an exemplary parliamentarian and symbolized the rise of women, blacks and black women in politics. In other words, a legacy of our party that leaves us in a tragic way,” he said, noting that the murder of the congresswoman is proof that federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro leads nowhere.
Medeiros, like Araujo, said he was certain that yesterday’s attack was a political crime.
“It was an execution, an execution that is undoubtedly linked to Marielle’s political work, particularly the denunciations she had been making against police violence in some communities in Rio de Janeiro. I am convinced that it was a political crime, like so many that happen in Brazil, against landless leaders, indigenous leaders, popular leaders … And that now has reached a leadership of human rights with a parliamentary mandate.”
According to PSOL leaderships, Marielle Franco was being asked to run for deputy governor, alongside councilor Tarcísio Motta, in the upcoming elections.