Memory of slain councilwoman honored in Rio de Janeiro

People hold street signs honoring slain councilwoman Marielle Franco as they mark the 7th month since her murder in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Franco supporters distributed a thousand street signs in memory of her after a video on social media showed one being destroyed by two politicians with the right wing Social Liberal Party. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Thousands of people gathered in Brazil’s second largest city Sunday to honor the memory of a councilwoman and human rights activist who was shot to death seven months ago.

Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were killed in Rio de Janeiro on March 14 while returning from an event focused on empowering young black women.

At least 2,000 people joined the rally at Rio’s Cinelandia Square for a symbolic restoration of a street sign with her name on it.

The previous sign was taken down two weeks earlier by two supporters of right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election last weekend. The pair said the Franco street sign had replaced the original sign and thus was an act of vandalism.

Franco’s partner, Monica Benicio, led Sunday’s event at which 1,000 street signs bearing the councilwoman’s name were distributed.

The event was a message of resistance to “the climate of hate and violence that we are experiencing,” Benicio told The Associated Press.

“Taking down the street sign was disrespectful to our family and to all those who sympathized with the work done by Marielle who fought for a more just society,” she said.

“They failed to keep her quiet,” Benicio added. “Save those street signs, for they symbolize her memory and resistance and show that love always win.”

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