The ex-president of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva completed one month in prison, after a court sentenced him to 12 years and a month in prison over alleged passive corruption and money laundering.
But Lula has not lost all hope and is waiting for the Supreme Court's decision, which could grant him freedom if they rule that his trial violated the constitution. The ruling will be announced next Thursday.
The Workers' Party (PT) and its leaders, such as ousted President Dilma Rousseff, claim Lula is a political prisoner. Even though he remains in prison, Lula is still leading in the polls and will be the party's candidate for the October 7 elections.
“A crowd takes the Santos Andrade Square demanding Freedom for Lula! The singer Beth Carvalho just left the stage and now Ana Cañas is going up. Leaders from all the country are in Curitiba on this historical May Day, which goes beyond political parties.”
The Unified Workes' Central (CUT) is carrying out protests and activities all across the country, focusing on the Metal Workers Union of San Pablo, were Lula was spent two days surrounded by supporters before handing himself over to the authorities after judge Sergio Moro called for issued a warrant for his arrest.
“May 7 will be a day of struggle against an unjust political prison. It will be the day of the Lula Libre movement. Lula is the only leader and candidate that can backtrack the labor law modified by this Michel Temer government.” said Sergio Nobre, secretary general of the CUT.
“The resistance in Curitiba got reinforcements from the native people. More than 40 members of the Kaingang tribe joined the Marisa Leticia camp to the defend the innocent and freedom of Lula. Pictures: Ricardo Stuckert.”
Last month, the Second Chamber of Brazil's Supreme court transferred all Odebrecht plea bargain testimony related to Lula's corruption case to the Federal Justice Department in Sao Paulo, removing judge Moro from the case.
This gives a glimpse of light to Lula's supporters, hoping the Supreme Court can revert the sentence against Lula. He has told his judicial and media critics that “If they don't want me to be a (presidential) candidate (this year), go to the polls and vote against me. Don't create artifices and tricks to prevent my candidacy.”
Having left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha, Lula, despite his legal woes and imprisonment, has topped every electoral poll conducted this year by Vox Populi, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.
Lula's two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. One of his most ambitious and successful plans was Family Allowance (Bolsa Familia). Launched in 2003, it provided stipends to families living below the poverty line. In turn, those families must prove that their children are attending school and have been vaccinated.