Demonstrators, including trade union and political party representatives, marched through Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo late Wednesday chanting “Free Lula!”. The protesters are a continuation of the series of protest, which began last week, calling for former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva be freed from prison.
Adding to the hundreds of persons, who protested in Sao Paulo, thousands more, including members of social movements and unions, also took to the streets of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state, to demand Lula's release.
Minas Gerais state congressman Rogerio Correia, said “only the people are capable of overcoming the crises that the 2016 coup brought to Brazil. It's impressive how more and more people are attuned to the elite's plot and showing their discontent by defending Lula, fulfilling the Constitution and democracy.”
Lula was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison on corruption charges by Brazil's Fourth Regional Federal Court. The Supreme Court of Justice rejected two habeas corpus appeals submitted by his defense team. Legal experts and observers attribute his case to a salacious media campaign coupled with 'lawfare,' where political foes use loopholes in the judicial system to their advantage, neutralizing their opponents.
After delivering a rousing speech on the grounds of the ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo on Saturday, Lula was hoisted in the air by hordes of supporters. He then complied with the arrest warrant issued by Judge Sergio Moro and was transported by federal authorities to Curitiba last Sunday.
Amid concerns for public safety, Marshalls of the Federal Police Union of Parana requested that the former head of state be "immediately transferred" to a military prison. The Workers' Party (PT) and Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) have also expressed concern for the health and safety of the former president as he remains in prison.