The uproar caused by the murder of City Council member Marielle Franco (PSOL), 38, has reinforced concerns regarding Rio's federal intervention and put pressure on the military, now responsible for policing the city.
Marielle Franco, 38, was murdered as she was being driven across the central business district.
Reports say two men in a auto drew up alongside her vehicle, opened fire, and sped away.
The killing of Franco, who received the fifth largest number of votes in the latest city council elections in 2016, sparked public anger on social networks. Fernanda Chaves, a press officer sitting in the back seat in the back seat survived her injuries, officials said, noting the councilwoman apparently was targeted.
"The path of her own fight is what gives us the strength to carry on", said Danielle Ramos, 26, who was attending a rally in Rio de Janeiro in front of the city council building, along with thousands of others. Marielle Franco was slain Wednesday night while returning from an event focused on empowering young black women.
Just a day before her death, Franco blamed police for the killing of a young man in a favela.
The city has been mired in violence for decades but the security situation has worsened dramatically since the end of the Olympic Games in 2016.
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Security consultant Paulo Storani, a former commander of Rio's elite police force known as the BOPE, warned against jumping to conclusions about the police or blaming the military intervention, which he believes will ultimately be ineffective. Last week, she spoke out after the police shot two youngsters in Acari, a neighborhood in the northern part of Rio.
Franco was a beacon of hope of the people of Rio, which is plagued by a plethora of issues including poverty. Matheus Melo was leaving church when he was killed.
Franco was a fierce champion of the disenfranchised in Brazil's poorest slums, and staunchly advocated against police brutality and gang violence, which runs rampant throughout said favelas. "They come to kill our young!" she tweeted. The army general in charge of the federal intervention in Rio should guarantee investigators the necessary resources and independence to identify the murderers, Human Rights Watch said.
Rio's head of public security, Richard Nunes, assured a "full investigation" into the murder.
Amnesty International's Brazil director, Jurema Werneck, said that Franco's murder was "yet another example of the dangers that human rights defenders face in Brazil", adding that the Brazilian government "cannot stand by and let human rights defenders be killed with impunity". An emergency decree was put into place to combat rising crime as the military took over Rio de Janeiro's security.