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News > Brazil

Paris Will Have a Public Space Named After Activist Marielle Franco

  • A woman attends a mass marking the first anniversary of Marielle Franco's murder, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 14, 2019.

    A woman attends a mass marking the first anniversary of Marielle Franco's murder, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 14, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 April 2019

Paris City Hall honors the memory of the courageous woman who was killed by the Brazilian far-right paramilitary in 2018.

The Municipal Council of Paris unanimously approved Monday a motion to name a public space after Marielle Franco, a Brazilian leftist politician and human rights activist who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro on March 14, 2018.

Brazil: 2 Former Police Arrested in Marielle Franco Murder

"This is a tribute to Marielle but also a way of supporting contemporary struggles against anti-democratic violence and oppression throughout the world," the European Network for Democracy in Brazil (RED.Br), a left-wing organization which initially promoted the motion, said adding that the initiative was presented by leftist politicians but won the votes of the right-wing opposition as well.

Marielle Franco, a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and a feminist activist, was named a rapporteur in a special commission to monitor the Brazilian security forces intervention in the Favelas, the Rio de Janeiro’s poorest neighborhoods. Two weeks after her appointment, on the night of March 14, 2018, she was shot dead on her way home after leaving a political event.

Almost one year later, in March 12, 2018, two former officials of Rio’s Military Police were arrested for being the alleged perpetrators of Franco's murder. During subsequent investigations, a link between President Jair Bolsonaro's family and the Franco case appeared as details emerged that one of Bolsonaro's sons was the partner of the daughter of one of the suspects.

"At the Hotel-De-Ville, the Frech capital headquarters: Paris will not forget Marielle Franco."

Paris socialist councilors celebrated the decision by recalling that Marielle was a "councilwoman engaged in the fight against racism, homophobia and police violence."

Once the motion is approved, the next step will be to find the place, street or square which will be named after Marielle Franco. Although the choice of location should be evaluated by a city hall team, it is most likely to be at the center of the French capital. The Marais, a well-known neighborhood frequented by the LGBT community, is one of the places considered.

Since its launch, the proposal gained support from the Paris socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who took part in the project to honor the Brazilian councilwoman.

In mid-March, the RED.Br sent an open letter to the Paris City Hall explaining why the memory of Marielle Franco should be remembered in the French capital.

“Paris is the place where a first plate must be installed because of its visibility and the values it represents... Marielle struggled for an open, diverse and inclusive city," the RED.Br said and added that “naming a street after her is a strong symbolic act... [which] honors the memory of illustrious and courageous women who represent minorities and human rights fighters."

Last year, shortly after the crime, Paris’ main administrative building, Hotel-de-Ville, had also exposed a photo of Franco on its front.

Nowadays, the Franco case has become an emblem of the struggle against the Brazilian far-right violence and policies against the working class sectors of the society, which had received the support of the previous leftist governments in Brazil.

“The [Brazilian] government and state are responsible for Marielle’s murder and we need to fight for our history more than ever before,” local progressive  publication Esquerda Diario stated and demanded “justice and punishment from everyone involved in her murder [as well as] an independent inquiry commission to find out who ordered to kill her.”

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