Brazil arrests two over Marielle Franco murder | News | DW | 12.03.2019
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Brazil arrests two over Marielle Franco murder

One year after anti-police brutality activist Marielle Franco was murdered, police have two suspects in custody. Both of the individuals were said to be former officers.

Two former policemen were arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday in connection with the apparent political assassination of local politician Marielle Franco and her driver, police said.

The 38-year-old leftist councilor was gunned down last year after campaigning against police brutality, sparking widespread anger across the country.

Investigators accused one of the men of firing the shots that killed her and her driver, Anderson Gomes, and the other man of driving the car that ambushed them on March 14 last year.

One suspect lives same gated community that Brazil’s new far-right president Jair Bolsonaro lived in before he took office on January 1, police said.

Police brutality activist

Franco was a popular member of the Socialism and Liberty party and was known for her women's and human rights activism, including concerns she had over police brutality in the favela where she grew up, Mare.

In the days before the shooting, Franco accused police of killing a young man and said police from a neighboring area had acted as a death squad. "They come to carve up the population! They come to kill our young!" she tweeted.

Brazil's slums had seen a rise in violence after the army took over local security and carried out routine sweeps with heavily armed soldiers.

Brazil's new president, Bolsonaro, served in the army and came to power late last year with the slogan "30 bullets for every bandit." 

A new politics

Franco's death set off protests in Rio de Janeiro and other cities and gave rise to a focus on inequality in what some termed a new politics.

More demonstrations are planned for the anniversary on Thursday, March 14.

ta/rc (Reuters, AP)

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Watch video 02:22

Rio protesters demand answers in activist’s slaying