Labor and social movement organizations launched a campaign on Thursday to combat attacks on the popular former president, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.
The campaign, called “A Just Brazil for All and for Lula” is a response to the persecution of Lula da Silva by the current government of Michel Temer, which ousted the democratically-elected Dilma Rousseff, Lula´s successor as leader of the Workers Party, in a parliamentary coup in August.
Lula is facing a series of increasingly discredited and politically motivated accusations of corruption. Lula remains highly popular in Brazil due to his government´s success in combating poverty and inequality and is the leading choice to run as the Workers Party candidate in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections.
“Defending Lula´s rights is to defend the rights of all Brazilians,” said the organizers in a statement released on social media.
The campaign argues that Lula´s situation is emblematic of the threats to democracy in Brazil which they said in a statement, “has been threatened today by successive attacks on rights and guarantees, under the pretext of fighting corruption.” Many of those promoting the case against Lula were central players in the coup against Rousseff and have openly praised the vicious military dictatorship which ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985.
The launch of the campaign came on the same day as lawyers for ousted President Dilma Rousseff filed documents in court suggesting that current President Michel Temer accepted a massive bribe.
In the wake of the Petrobras scandal, Brazil´s electoral court has been investigating accusations that Rousseff and Lula da Silva´s Workers Party had used illegal campaign funds in their 2014 re-election campaign.
In September a Brazilian newspaper reported that Otávio Azevedo testified as part of a plea bargain deal that he had made a US$297,150 bribe to Rousseff.
On Thursday, Rousseff's lawyers filed documents with the electoral court suggesting that Azevedo had in fact deposited the money in the general election fund of Temer's PMDB party, which subsequently issued a check – a copy of which Rousseff's lawyers submitted to the court – for the same amount to Temer's personal election fund.
If the court rules that this did indeed occur then the entire winning election ticket from 2014, including Temer, would be removed from office. In the wake of the court filing Brazil´s currency fell to its lowest since June.