RIO DE JANEIRO: A young, leftist Rio city councillor who grew up in a slum and worked on human rights issues was shot and killed on Wednesday, authorities said.
The attack outraged Brazilian politicians and citizens, and protest rallies were called for Thursday.
Councillor Marielle Franco’s driver also died in the attack, in which a car pulled up alongside theirs as she returned from a black women’s empowerment event and shots were fired at them. One of her aides was wounded.
The federal government said it is investigating the shooting.
Amnesty International said the probe should be rigorous and focus on “the context, motive and responsibility” for the killing.
Social media lit up with calls for demonstrations on Thursday outside City Hall and elsewhere in Rio.
“March against black genocide! WE ARE ALL Marielle Franco,” said one appeal, which in a matter of hours drew pledges from some 20,000 people to attend the rally.
Franco, 38, belonged to the leftist PSOL party.
She was born and raised in the Rio slum area of Maré, one of the city’s most violent areas.
Franco in recent weeks had criticised what she called an increase in police violence in the slums.
She has also criticised President Michel Temer for calling in army troops to boost security in Rio amid violence that has been on the rise since the city hosted the Olympic Games in 2016.
But Franco’s party said she had not reported receiving threats of late.
Franco earned a degree in sociology and a masters in public administration.