Thousands of Brazilians marched Wednesday to the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to support the registration of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on behalf of the Workers’ Party.
Among those marching were the former Education Minister and Mayor of Sao Paulo Fernando Haddad, Lula's running mate.
The event is a continuation of the Free Lula March, headed by the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) and other social organizations and movements, to demand Lula's freedom.
Gleisi Hoffman, national president of the Workers' Party, said: "Many thought that we wouldn't make it, but together with the people, we will register the candidacy of the former president for a third term… Lula will be on the ballot on October 7, just like the majority of Brazilians want."
"#MarchaLulaLivre | Campesino organizations and movements gathered in the city of #Brasilia to support the candidacy of @LulaOficial and his right to participate in the upcoming presidential elections."
The Workers' Party formally registered Lula's candidacy Wednesday in Brasilia. Former President Dilma Rousseff made the announcement on Twitter, with a photograph of the document officializing his participation in the presidential race. Fernando Haddad was also registered as Lula's vice-president.
"We confronted these coup makers who still refuse to recognize the result of 54 million votes that you gave to me,” Rousseff said, referring to the parliamentary coup that ousted the progressive president in 2016.
Haddad said Lula was the only candidate able to pull Brazil out of the economic and social crisis. He lamented the attempts at removing Lula from the competition, highlighting the popular support Lula was still receiving in the streets and in the polls.
The TSE has until September 17 to determine the future of Lula's candidacy, with sources close to PT saying that they didn't expect a ruling for at least a few days.
Major Canadian and U.S. labor unions joined the movement supporting Lula's candidacy on Wednesday, with AFL-CIO representatives meeting PT lawmakers in Brazil's National Assembly. They discussed ways to release Lula from prison and help him recover full citizenship.
Paulo Pimenta, leader of the PT, said links between U.S. public institutions and the Car Wash corruption investigation will soon be revealed, referring to the scandal used as one of the pretexts to oust Rousseff.
AFL-CIO Vice-President Tefere Gebre recalled the long history of U.S. interference in the domestic affairs of other nations, and reaffirmed the union's willingness to collaborate with their Brazilian fellows.
Carolina Kersten, president of the United Steelworkers of the United States and Canada, also expressed her support for Lula's release and the restoration of democracy in Brazil.
Lula is leading presidential polls with a third of voter intent, double that of any other candidate, despite being sentenced to 12 years and a month in prison on corruption charges.
Many legal experts, both national and international, attribute his detention to insidious corporate media and lawfare. Even Pope Francis has weighed in on the matter, sending spiritual support messages to the former head of state for his accomplishments.
Lula and his supporters have argued that his imprisonment is a politically motivated attempt to keep him from running in the upcoming elections.
According to legal experts, his candidacy will most likely be invalidated due to a law that excludes people have been convicted after a losing a second appeal. Reports suggest that Haddad would replace Lula if his candidacy is invalidated, though the PT has yet to confirm that.