News Americas, RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Mon. April 9, 2018: Brazil’s ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva turned himself in to federal police on Saturday, after supporters initially tried to prevent him from handing himself over to the authorities.
After supporters blocked his vehicle, Lula left the headquarters of the Metalworkers’ Union in Sao Bernardo do Campo of the Sao Paulo state on foot at around 6:45 p.m. (2145 GMT).
Lula had spent the last two nights in the building, where he began his political career as a union leader.
On Thursday, he lost his latest appeal to avoid a 12-year prison sentence for corruption, ending his hopes of running for re-election in October.
A judge then gave him until 5:00 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) Friday to turn himself in, but Lula missed the deadline.
Earlier on Saturday, Lula participated in a massive political rally in the city and spoke to thousands of supporters for almost an hour.
The event, which was technically a religious service in honor of his late wife, whose birthday was on April 7, became a magnet of support to the former president.
“Apparently, today is a sad day. This is not only because Lula finally compromised, but also because he was arrested. Most of us don’t believe his trial was fair,” Lula supporter Mauricio said at the rally site.
“This is a difficult moment, Lula decided to turn himself in to the federal police. I hope he will be released soon and I hope that he will then exercise his right to appeal,” said another supporter Ricardo.
Following a nearly hour-long speech by Lula at the event, his supporters locked hands and surrounded the union building to block his departure and prevent the police from entering.
Later, Lula was seen getting into a car that was presumably going to take Lula to the police, with his lawyer Cristiano Zanin.
He later exited on foot, was taken into custody and driven to the Congonhas airport in the state capital Sao Paulo, from where he is to fly to Curitiba, capital of southern Parana state.
Lula led the election polls so far, despite accusations that he had accepted bribes from a major oil company, Petrobras. Lula was alleged to have been given juicy government construction contracts, including the use of a luxury beachside apartment.
Prosecutors claimed that the apartment was a gift from the company, though they never presented evidence proving his ownership, according to Lula’s legal team.
With Lula no longer on the run, the chances of right-wing candidates winning the elections increase significantly, as the left has no other contender nearly as strong as Lula, according to political analysts. (SOURCE: CCTV)
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