Social leaders and politicians across the world are voicing their discontent with the Supreme Court of Brazil's decision to deny former President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva's habeas corpus petition, in effect paving the way for his detention on corruption charges.
“No strip of land will be free of occupation; we won't give up! There's not a single public building that we won't occupy!” said Alexandre Conceicao of the Rural Landless Movement, or MST.
Speaking in the Brazilian capital Brasilia shortly after the supreme court's decision, he evoked the words of slain Black leaders such as Martin Luther King and Marielle Franco in calling for social movements to initiate “Red April”: “The waltz is over. From now on it's punching, it's war, it's a struggle and we will win.”
The Workers' Party, or PT, and Socialism and Liberty Party, or PSOL, released official statements lamenting the court's ruling.
PT said that the ruling marked "A tragic day for democracy in Brazil." According to the party, the court denied Lula the right to defense. They also accused the Brazilian media company 'o Globo' of influencing the decision.
Juliano Medeiros, president of the PSOL, said the court's ruling shows contempt for democracy. “It demonstrates the need to form a democratic front against the rise of authoritarianism and violence, the apex of which was the political crime that made a victim of our companion Marielle Franco," he said.
Luiz Maranhao, leader of the Workers' Party in the state of Sao Paulo, said, “President Lula never requested special privileges. What he demanded were rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Lula has declined to give an official response to the STJ's ruling as he and supporters gathered at the ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Paulo to watch the judges deliberate. However, allies said the former head of state vented when judge Rosa Weber, appointed to the supreme court in 2011 during the presidency of Dilma Rousseff, voted to deny his habeas corpus appeal.
Lula ironized the good faith demonstrated by the Workers' Party, saying he was never hopeful that Weber would cast her vote in his favor, according to Brasil 24/7.
Of the 11 supreme court justices currently serving on the bench, seven were appointed by Lula or Rousseff. Fernando Britto refers to them in the Diario do Centro do Mundo as “Traitors of the Brazilian people, traitors of those who ushered them to the Supreme (Court), traitors of themselves.”
Supporters of the former President took to the of Brasilia in response to the ruling late Wednesday. Protesters arrived in Brasilia from all over the country and marched while declaring their support for the front-runner in all the opinion polls ahead of the presidential election in October.