Rio de Janeiro police officers foiled on Wednesday (12th) militia plans to murder State Representative Marcelo Freixo (PSOL) during a Saturday morning rally in the city's western part. Freixo won a seat in the federal House of Representatives by the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The planned attack would happen while the lawmaker would be in a meeting at the city's union of private school teachers (Sinpro), an event shared by the politician's social media channels.
Freixo's aides canceled the meeting after receiving a message from the Rio de Janeiro state police's intelligence unit informing that three militias, with a military police officer among them, planned to murder the representative in the meeting. The police force and the State District Attorney were also informed.
The information came through an anonymous tip hotline. Newspaper O Globo first reported the case, associating the suspects to the illegal gambling mafia in Rio de Janeiro.
According to Freixo's team, so far there is no evidence of connections between this episode and the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco. Franco had worked for Freixo before entering politics and was a personal friend. However, the neighborhood mentioned in the threats is, according to the state secretary of public security General Richard Nunes, is a stronghold of militia that "most certainly" are involved in her death.
The lawmaker presided over an investigative commission about militia activities ten years ago, and since then, he has received multiple death threats, which required him to have police protection at all times. He authored its final report, in which he named 200 people as belonging to militia groups, requesting their arrests, and listed measures to confront these groups. There were politicians, police officers, correctional officers, firefighters, and civilians among the list of names.
Rio's police also informed that it fulfilled 13 warrants for the arrest of individuals suspected to be involved in the death of Councilwoman Marielle Franco (PSOL) and her driver Anderson Gomes. That is the first break in the case in nine months.
To fulfill the warrants, homicide detectives went to 15 addresses spread throughout the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais: Rio's west side, and the cities of Nova IguaÃ§u, Angra dos Reis and PetrÃ³polis. In Minas Gerais, they went to Juiz de Fora.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV