Several rallies are takimg place in different Brazilian cities following the sentencing of the nation’s former President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva.
Sergio Moro, the lead judge sentenced Lula to nine and a half years in jail. But his lawyers say he is innocent and accuse Moro of being politically motivated.
It is not casual that this decision is coming when president Michel Temer is facing an impeachment and Lula´s popular support is undeniable.
Lula’s Workers’ Party says the ruling is an “attack on democracy.” Party leaders called on supporters to organize protests across the country.
One demonstration has been taking place Sao Paulo’s main Avenue Paulista. Crowds shouted “Lula is innocent” and accused Judge Moro of having made a “political decision.”
“When the judiciary behaves as a political party, something is going badly wrong in the country, and that’s what’s happening in this process,” said Guilherme Boulos, the head of the Homeless Movement.
Another leader of the protest in the centre of Sao Paulo, Matheus Asunção of the Landless Workers Movement o MST, added that “there are indications that Judge Sergio Moro collaborates with the interests of North American imperialism and the financial system.”
Expressions of support for Lula also came in from around Latin America. The Bolivian president, Evo Morales, tweeted, “A judicial coup against our brother Lula, a potential candidate who would guarantee the victory of the Brazilian people. All our solidarity.”
The Argentine Nobel laureate, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, said, “Coup mongering is striking down labor rights and political rights. The people will not go without Lula.”
Social media users urged Lula’s supporters to gather under the hashtag #Lulainocente in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Salvador and Porto Alegre within hours of the sentencing.
The ruling could bar him from running for president in the upcoming 2018 elections, despite having the highest approval ratings of all candidates.