Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Brazil as momentum builds in support of former the former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who was sentenced to nine years and six months on charges of corruption and money laundering last week.
Organized by the Popular Front of Brazil, FBP, the Worker's Party and a host of unions and other social movements, the demonstrations also reiterated previous demands.
These include calls for the immediate removal of the current President Michel Temer, free democratic elections, and an end to labor and pension reforms.
Centenas de manifestantes protestam contra Temer no centro de Porto Alegre pic.twitter.com/AReH7gOB6U— Sul21 (@jornalSul21) 20 juillet 2017
The FBP stated that it wants "to relate the persecution of the ex-president with the agenda of regression in the labor laws and to reaffirm, against this picture of intense political and institutional crisis, the need for direct elections for the presidency of the Republic."
According to the FBP, there is no evidence supporting the charges against the former head of state. Following the decision, Lula's lawyers appealed the court sentence, contesting ten of the deciding factors in the case, while the Federal Public Ministry filed an appeal against the ruling on Monday.
President Vander Freitas of the Central Worker's Union, said, "For the 'Casa Grande', Lula represents the danger of a popular and workers' government coming back to power to restore democracy, equality, justice and social inclusion."
"The condemnation of Lula by (Judge Sergio Moro) is a further blow to the already weakened Brazilian democracy because when justice takes sides, condemns without evidence, acts only for presumption of guilt and a judge becomes accusatory, there is something serious happening," said Guiljerme Boulos, the national coordinator of the Landless Workers' Movement.