Reproduced below is an open letter signed by 100 prominent figures from across British society demanding justice for Marielle Franco, a prominent Brazilian progressive leader and rights advocate who was assassinated on March 14. Across Brazil, and the world, people have been outraged at this tragedy and pledged their solidarity with those struggling for justice for Marielle –here in Britain we must do all we can to further raise awareness of this case and build the international pressure for justice and for an end to the deepening criminalisation of activists, government opponents and low-income people in Brazil.

Letter:

“On March 14, 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 people, women and low-income communities. A gay black woman born and raised in one of Rio’s poorest neighbourhoods, she campaigned relentlessly against spiralling 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 death, 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, militarisation and anti-democratic forces. Given that Marielle’s murder 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 criminalisation of activists, government opponents and low-income people in Brazil.”

Signed:

  1. Chris Williamson MP (Labour,) President, Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America & No Coup in Brazil.
  2. Diane Abbott MP (Labour), Shadow Home Secretary
  3. Kate Osamor MP (Labour,) Shadow International Development Secretary.
  4. Richard Burgon MP (Labour) , Shadow Justice Secretary
  5. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Labour)
  6. Baroness Shami Chakrabarti (Labour,) Shadow Attorney General
  7. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (Labour)
  8. Lord Hunt of Chesterton (Labour)
  9. Bill Kidd MSP (SNP)
  10. Christina McKelvie MSP (SNP)
  11. Alex Rowley MSP (Labour)
  12. John Finnie MSP (Scottish Green Party)
  13. Benjamin Zephaniah, poet
  14. Naomi Campbell, model & activist
  15. Brian Eno, musician & writer
  16. Tariq Ali, writer & playwright
  17. Linton Kwesi Johnson , poet
  18. Ken Loach, filmmaker
  19. Michael Mansfield QC
  20. Richard Gott, writer
  21. Ann Pettifor, economist
  22. Andy De La Tour, actor & playwright
  23. Johann Hari, writer & campaigner ,
  24. Owen Jones, writer & commentator
  25. Maya Goodfellow , writer & journalist
  26. Joy Johnson, writer & Tribune columnist
  27. Ava Vidal, comedian & journalist
  28. Chardine Stone , founder,  Black Girls Picnic
  29. Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director,  UK Black Pride
  30. Denis Fernando, Rainbow Coalition Against Racism
  31. Myriam Kane, Executive member, National Union of Students
  32. Zita Holbourne, National Vice-President, PCS, Artists Union England National Executive & National Chair of BARAC UK.
  33. Martin Mayer, Sheffield TUC & former Labour Party NEC member
  34. Rachel Garnham,  Labour Party NEC member
  35. Cllr Alice Perry, Labour Party NEC member  & Islington Councillor
  36. Cllr Claudia Webbe , Labour Party NEC member, Labour Party & Islington Councillor
  37. Peter Willsman, Labour Party NEC member
  38. Cllr Peray Ahmet, National Policy Forum member, Labour Party & Haringey Councillor
  39. Marcus Barnett , International Officer, Young Labour
  40. Artin Giles, Chair, London Young Labour
  41. Huda Elmi, NCG Member, Momentum & BAME Labour activist
  42. Mark Serwotka, General Secretary,  PCS
  43. Matt Wrack, General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union
  44. Ian Lawrence, General Secretary,  NAPO
  45. Ronnie Draper, General Secretary, BFAWU
  46. Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU
  47. Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union
  48. Tommy Murphy , EC member,  Unite the Union
  49. Simon Dubbins,  Director of International, Unite the Union
  50. Annmarie Kilcline, Regional Secretary,  Unite the Union East Midlands Region
  51. Jim Kelly, Chair, Unite the Union London & Eastern Region
  52. Christine Blower, International Secretary, National Education Union (NUT Section)
  53. Gawain Little, Joint Executive Council member  ,  National Education Union (NUT section)
  54. Max Hyde, Past President (Personal capacity), NEU ( NUT)
  55. Bernard Regan, Trustee,National Education Union (NUT section)
  56. Carl Maden CWU NEC
  57. Steve Jones, National & Postal Executive, CWU
  58. Andy Bain, Past President, TSSA
  59. Samuel Tarry, TSSA, National Political Officer
  60. Terry Hoad, Past President, UCU
  61. Moz Greenshields, Trades Unions Councils JCC (personal capacity), TUC
  62. Barbara White, Executive Committee member, Musicians Union
  63. Karen Mitchell, Head of Legal Department, RMT
  64. Phil McGarry, RMT Scotland
  65. John Haylett, political editor, Morning Star
  66. Bob Oram, Chair, Morning Star
  67. Ken Livingstone, Former Mayor of London
  68. Maggie Bowden, General Secretary, Liberation (formerly the Movement for colonial freedom)
  69. Peter Purton, historian & former TUC LGBT Officer
  70. Jane Shallice, writer & activist
  71. Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
  72. Kate Hudson, General Secretary, CND
  73. Pablo Navarrete, Alborada
  74. Saundra Satterlee,  journalist
  75. Georgia Platman, former Telesur English journalist
  76. Susanna Mitchell, Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique
  77. Liz Davies, barrister & Vice-President Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (personal capacity)
  78. Bruce Kent, peace campaigner
  79. Murad Qureshi, Chair, Stop the War Coalition & former GLA member
  80. Stephanie Kennedy, journalist
  81. Callum Simpson,  Movimientos
  82. Sue Branford, Latin America Bureau
  83. Rob Miller, Director, Cuba Solidarity Campaign
  84. Luke Daniels, President, Caribbean Labour Solidarity
  85. Louise Richards, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group
  86. Susan Grey, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
  87. Professor Robert Blackburn, Associate Dean Research, Kingston University
  88. Julia Buxton, Central European University / Swansea University
  89. Professor Mike Cole, University of East London
  90. Francisco Dominguez, Head,  Brazilian & Latin American Studies, Middlesex University
  91. Professor John Gledhill, University of Manchester
  92. Professor Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University
  93. Conrad James, Department of Modern Languages, Birmingham University
  94. Hazel Marsh , Lecturer in Latin American Studies, University of East Anglia
  95. David Raby, former Senior Fellow in Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool
  96. Sami Ramidani, academic
  97. Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics
  98. Professor Michael Wayne, Brunel University
  99. Matt Willgress, editor, No Coup in Brazil
  100. Colin Burgon, Honorary President, Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America.