Two days before the first anniversary of the assassination of the left-wing black woman Marielle Franco and her driver, the stalled investigation took a decisive step on Tuesday. Two police officers suspected of involvement in the double homicide were arrested at dawn on Tuesday at their homes in Rio de Janeiro.
Retired military policeman Ronie Lessa is suspected of riddling the Rio city councilor and his driver Anderson Gomes in their car on March 14, 2018. Elcio Vieira de Queiroz, who was expelled from the military police, was reportedly shot drove the car that was stalking Marielle Franco's car after a militant meeting in downtown Rio. "The investigations have concluded, on the basis of various evidence, that Lessa is the perpetrator of the crimes and shootings […] with the participation of Elcio who drove [le véhicule] used for execution ", said the Rio Prosecutor's Office.
Marielle Franco, 38, a homosexual woman, born and raised in the favela of Maré and strongly committed to racism, homophobia and police violence, was elected on a list of the Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL), a left formation. His assassination had provoked a wave of global indignation, and mass demonstrations in Brazil.
The Conservative government of President Temer promised to complete the investigation. But it has stomped for a year, in a country where the overwhelming majority of homicides remains unpunished, while supporters of "Marielle" continued to seek justice.
For the first anniversary of his death on Thursday, many events are planned across the country and abroad. The carnival of Rio in early March was the occasion of a very special tribute to Marielle Franco of one of the historic samba schools, Mangueira, who invited to his parade the companion of the elected, surrounded by banners to his effigy. Mangueira was crowned champion of the year at the end of a very political carnival, where criticism against far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has been constant.
According to the services of the prosecutor in charge of the fight against organized crime, "The assassination was meticulously planned during the three months preceding the crime". Beyond the arrest of the alleged perpetrators, the question of the identity of the sponsor (s) of the political assassination remains.
Rio de Janeiro has been confronted for the last twenty years with the phenomenon of militias, groups of agents or ex-security agents who make their rule in the favelas. Marielle Franco had been a strong advocate of police violence and militia in poor areas of the city.