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We demand justice for Marielle Franco

International Open Letter

Sunday 25 March 2018

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On March 14th, one of Brazil’s most courageous social leaders was brutally assassinated on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Marielle Franco, a city councilwoman and human rights defender, was shot four times in the head by unknown assailants in a passing vehicle shortly after leaving a gathering of young Black activists. Her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, was also killed.

Long before being elected to Rio’s city council in 2016, Marielle was widely known as a tireless and fearless advocate for the rights of Afro-Brazilians, LGBT persons, women and low income communities. A gay Black woman born and raised in one of Rio’s poorest neighborhoods, she campaigned relentlessly against spiraling police violence in the city’s favelas.

Marielle’s activism earned her many powerful enemies. She vehemently challenged the impunity surrounding extrajudicial killings of Black youth by security forces and, two days before her killing, had denounced the police’s role in the killing of a young Black man named Matheus Melo. She was a leading critic of the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro and was the head of a city commission tasked with monitoring the intervention.

We are deeply concerned and shocked by this commando-style killing of a woman who was a voice for the voiceless and a symbol of resistance to state-perpetrated violence, militarization and anti-democratic forces. Given that Marielle’s assassination bears all the hallmarks of a targeted assassination, we call for the creation of an independent commission comprised of prominent and respected national and international human rights and legal experts and tasked with carrying out an independent investigation of the murder of Marielle Franco with the full cooperation of state judicial and police authorities.

Shortly before her death, Marielle asked "How many others will have to die before this war will end." We call for justice for Marielle Franco and the daughter and the partner she leaves behind, and for an end to the killings and criminalization of activists, government opponents and low income people in Brazil.

Ava DuVernay Filmmaker

Rev. Jesse Jackson Civil rights activist

Anielle Silva sister of Marielle Franco

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Author, Nigeria

Arundhati Roy Author India

Angela Davis Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz

Edward Snowden Whistleblower and President of Freedom of Press Foundation

Shami Chakrabarti UK Shadow Attorney General

Naomi Campbell Model and activist

Ta-Nehesi Coates Journalist and author of “Black Panther” comic series/graphic novel

Noam Chomsky Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT, political theorist

Janelle Monae Singer and Actress

Patrisse Cullors Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, LGBT activist

David Miranda first LGBT Rio City Councillor, PSOL

Glenn Greenwald Journalist

Wagner Moura Brazilian Actor and Director

Marcelo Freixo State Representative, PSOL, Defence of Human Rights & Citizenship Chair

Mônica Benício Architect and companion of Marielle

Luciana Genro Founder of PSOL, former Presidential candidate, Brazil

Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres daughter of the late Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)

Antonia Pellegrino Feminist screenwriter

Linda Sarsour National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington, former Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York

Naomi Klein Author and journalist

Ayo Obe President of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organization

Baltasar Garzón International human rights lawyer

Thandie Newton Actress and activist

Celso Amorim former Brazilian Foreign Minister

Danny Glover Actor, film director, and activist

Shaun King Journalist and civil rights activist

Pamela Anderson Actress

Gael García Bernal Actor and director

Julian Assange Publisher, Wikileaks

Alfonso Cuaron Filmmaker

Opal Tometi Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, Executive Director at Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Oliver Stone Filmmaker

Viggo Mortensen Actor

Yanis Varoufakis former Greek Finance Minister

Renata Avila Guatemalan human rights lawyer and digital rights advocate

Cheryl Carolus South African activist and politician

Jean-Michel Jarre Musician

Slavoj Žižek Philosopher, Birkbeck Institute for Humanities

Chris Williamson MP, No Coup in Brazil and Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America

Verónika Mendoza Frisch President of Movimiento Nuevo Perú (MNP), former congresswoman and presidential candidate of Peru

Brian Eno Musician and producer

Ken Loach Filmmaker

Kate Osamor UK Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

Tamika Mallory National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington

Winnie Wong Co-Founder of The People for Bernie, National Advisor Women’s March

Bill Fletcher Jr. former president of TransAfrica Forum; racial justice, labor, and international activist

Medea Benjamin Co-Founder of CodePink Women for Peace and Global Exchange

Jodie Evans Co-Founder and Director of CodePink Women for Peace

Tef Poe Co-Founder of “Hands Up United”

Eduardo Barcesat Founding member American Association of Jurists

Valeria Wasserman Chomsky Translator

Johann Hari writer

Marieme Jamme tech activist, Senegal

Lindsey German Founding member and convenor of Stop the War Coalition
Giorgio Jackson Parliamentarian, Chile

Mark Weisbrot Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Alexander Main Senior Associate, International Policy, Center for Economic and Policy Research

John Finnie MSP (Green)

Bill Kidd Member of Scotish Parliament (SNP)

Christina McKelvie Member of Scotish Parliament (SNP)

Alex Rowley Member of Scotish Parliament (Labour)

Lord Hunt de Chesterton (Labour)

Michael Mansfield Queen’s Counsel

Tariq Ali Writer, filmmaker and editor

Linton Kwesi Johnson Dub Poet, Jamaica

Ann Pettifor Political economist, Director of Prime: Policy Research in Macroeconomics

Barbora Bukovská Article 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression

Arlene Clemesha Historian and TV Commentator

Sre?ko Horvat Filósofo, Philosopher, Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

Vladimir Safatle Philosopher (USP)

Paola Pietrandera Democracy in Europe Movement 2025

Agnieszka Wi?niewska Editor-in-chief of Krytyka Polityczna

Lorenzo Marsili Director of European Alternatives

Rafael Heiber Co-founder and Executive Director of Common Action Forum

Carmen Perez National Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington, Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice

Michael Lowy emeritus research director in social sciences, Paris

Netfa Freeman Institute for Policy Studies

James Early Board of Institute for Policy Studies

Caetano Veloso Singer and Author

Paula Lavigne Producer

Helena Kennedy Human Rights lawyer, Chamber of the Lords of the UK
Miguel Urban MEP of Podemos

Francisco Louçã Portuguese academic and former MP of Bloco de Esquerda
Laura Restrepo Colombian writer

Tania Pariona Peruvian congresswoman

Mario Canzio à lvarez Peruvian congressman

Website Justice for Marielle.