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Supporters call for release of jailed Brazilian ex-president Lula

Other protesters at an anti-corruption event praised the incarceration of the former head of state.

A woman holds a hashtag sign that reads in Portuguese Free Lula during a demonstration on the anniversary of the incarceration of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside the jail where he is being held in Curitiba, Brazil (Denis Ferreira Netto/AP)
A woman holds a hashtag sign that reads in Portuguese Free Lula during a demonstration on the anniversary of the incarceration of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, outside the jail where he is being held in Curitiba, Brazil (Denis Ferreira Netto/AP)

Thousands of supporters, many chanting Free Lula!, have protested outside the jail where former Brazilian president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is being held on the anniversary of his incarceration.

But many other Brazilians have chosen the day to celebrate the country’s crackdown on corruption, with demonstrations across the country.

Da Silva is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering.

He and his Workers’ Party maintain he is innocent and say he was persecuted by the judiciary and political enemies in order to prevent him from running for president again.

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Workers’ Party President Gleisi Hoffmann, centre right, attends a demonstration (Denis Ferreira Netto/AP)

“Lula has been kidnapped by the bourgeoisie,” Joao Pedro Stedile, a leader from the far-left Landless Workers Movement, told the protesters.

“The ransom is for us to stop fighting.

“They want to bring the Brazilian people to their knees.”

Mr Stedile then led the crowds in a pledge to the ex-leader, instructing them to turn toward da Silva’s cell window.

“I promise to not rest one day, to do grassroots organising, to spread the word to the people, until Lula is free,” the crowds repeated with their left arms raised in a fist.

Meanwhile, on the promenade of Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach, anti-corruption protests cheered Lula’s continued incarceration.

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A supporter of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wears an image of the former Brazilian president (Denis Ferreira Netto/AP)

“Today marks one whole year that Lula hasn’t stolen!” a protester screamed from the top of a sound car while the crowds applauded.

Da Silva is the most prominent figure jailed in an anti-corruption investigation called Operation Carwash that has snared dozens of prominent politicians and business figures.

The anti-corruption protesters were also demanding the continued crackdown on “old politicians”, calling for the arrest of other corrupt politicians and applauding the judiciary that is going after them.

PA

From Belfast Telegraph