Brazilian councilwoman and rights activist gunned down in Rio de Janeiro

A police officer works on the crime scene where the council member Marielle Franco and her driver where both shot to death by two unidentified attackers in Rio de Janeiro Brazil Wednesday

Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco was shot multiple times in the head when a auto pulled up alongside hers and at least two people opened fire on Wednesday night.

Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco had little following outside her native city, and no known enemies, according to her family and party.

Franco was shot several times as bullets sprayed her vehicle as it drove through Rio de Janeiro's unsafe north side. Her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, was also killed, and an aide was injured.

Ms. Franco grew up in Maré, a district in northern Rio de Janeiro that is among the largest in the city's constellation of favelas, largely impoverished districts that were initially settled by squatters.

"I was very happy because it was a reply, through the polls, to the people who want to keep us black women from the favelas away from the debates", she said at the time.

Just a day before her death, Franco blamed police for the killing of a young man in a favela.

Police violence is a human rights crisis in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro.

In the months before the 2016 city council elections in Baixada Fluminense, a hardscrabble region the size of Denmark that surrounds Rio, at least 13 politicians or candidates were murdered before ballots were cast. Franco, part of a commission to oversee the military intervention, harshly criticised the move on Sunday, saying it could worsen police violence against residents. Perhaps. In her first political campaign, Franco won 46,000 votes, more than all but four of Rio's 51 city legislators. She was known as an outspoken critic of police officers accused of using aggression in the city's favelas, or slums, where she served as a longtime social worker amid gang violence. "How many more will have to die for this war to end?" she tweeted.

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The governor of the state of Rio, Luiz Fernando Pezao, called Franco a "warrior", and described her killing as an "extreme act of cowardice". Mathews Melo was leaving church. This week two youths were killed and tossed in a ditch.

One investigator in the police force said the major reason for for her assassination seems to be her calling out police for allegedly killing innocents in their constant battles with drug gangs. Otoni believes that Franco's death coincides with her participating in a recent protest.

"This a chilling development and is yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil", Jurema Werneck, Amnesty International's Brazil director, said.

The military intervention has sparked widespread concern, including from the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, who said soldiers "are not specialized in public security or investigation".

Franco was a beacon of hope of the people of Rio, which is plagued by a plethora of issues including poverty.

Rio's head of public security, Richard Nunes, assured a "full investigation" into the murder.

"The climate of near total impunity in Rio de Janeiro needs to end once and for all", Canineu said.

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