National protests are taking place throughout Brazil to mark 100 days since former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been imprisoned at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba, Parana.
“Over the past 100 days Lula has been a political prisoner,” the Workers' Party (PT) noted in an official press release. “This situation is being denounced by artists, intellectuals, lawyers and leaders from around the world.”
The progressive political party, which was co-founded by Lula, launched a web page containing statements from each of the people camped near the federal police station as part of the ongoing Free Lula Vigil, which has been operating since April 8, one day after Lula was detained.
Demonstrators plan to link their demand to free Lula, and allow him to run as a presidential candidate in the October general elections to centenary birthday celebrations taking place on Wednesday for former political prisoner and South African president Nelson Mandela.
Meanwhile, the presidents of Venezuela, El Salvador and Bolivia, all in attendance at the 24th Sao Paulo Forum, in Cuba, have expressed their solidarity with Lula.
“We painfully watch, but not with resignation, Lula's martyrdom, the persecution of of Lula, who's being hidden in a dungeon to impede his political activity,” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. He noted that Lula's persecutors are aware that if “Lula is freed, he will win the presidential election in Brazil. End of story!”
While Bolivian President Evo Morales lamented, “We miss Fidel, Chavez and Lula!” Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel insisted that “Lula should be freed.”
Despite his conviction and imprisonment for corruption, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, 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. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.