Paris (AFP) – The election of a far-right president in Brazil will not drive gay campaigners underground, the sister of murdered activist campaigner Marielle Franco has vowed — while warning that minorities face grave danger under Jair Bolsonaro.
Anielle Franco, whose sister was a prominent black and LGBT rights activist until her death in March, said Bolsonaro’s victory had already unleashed a wave of hatred in Brazil.
“Since Sunday we have had so many cases of violence — people who are screaming at each other in the face, hitting people,” the 34-year-old told AFP in an interview in Paris on Tuesday.
“Bolsonaro said he is going to ‘clean’ — that’s the way he said it — homosexuals, poor people and black people,” she said, speaking on the sidelines of the Human Rights World Summit.
“I’m scared of him,” Franco said, but she added she was also scared of “people who voted for him” who might now feel liberated to attack minorities.
– ‘In danger’ –
“I think people were just hiding behind their opinions, and Bolsanaro now gives them the right to just say this crazy stuff out loud,” she said.
“So we are very scared and in danger.”
Franco however remained defiant that gay activists like her sister, gunned down in central Rio de Janeiro in what appeared to be a professional hit, would not hide from Bolsonaro.
“I’m pretty sure LGBT organisations are not going to hide — they are going to go to the fight and the frontline, and say ‘we exist’,” she said.
“I think they will continue to be there, showing their faces and saying ‘our love exists’, and stay there until better days come.”
Marielle Franco, a rare black Rio council member, was a prominent critic of police violence and what she said was the targeting of blacks in the city’s slums.
Colleagues believe the leftist politician, who was married to a woman and also campaigned for LGBT rights, was killed because she angered police and paramilitary groups.
President-elect Bolsonaro has already started rolling out key points in his hardline agenda, including a move to merge the agriculture and environment ministries that activists warn will imperil the Amazon rainforest.
Bolsonaro, who openly admires Brazil’s former military dictatorship, has shocked many with his derogatory remarks on women as well as gay and black people.
He won 55 percent of Sunday’s run-off election, more than 10 points ahead of leftist opponent Fernando Haddad.