Lula begins prison sentence in Brazil after giving himself up to police

Lula begins prison sentence in Brazil after giving himself up to police
April 08, 2018   Tatjana Muskiet
Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has handed himself in to police after spending two nights at the metalworkers’ union headquarters in São Paulo in defiance of an arrest warrant. “I’m going to prove my innocence,” Lula told a large crowd of adoring supporters on Saturday at the building where he began his political career. “Do what you want, the powerful can kill one, two or 100 roses. But they’ll never manage to stop the arrival of spring.”
Afterwards, he was carried on the shoulders of supporters shouting “Free Lula!” before being flown to the southern city of Curitiba where he will begin serving a 12-year sentence for corruption. Military police in Curitiba later dispersed Lula supporters with rubber bullets and teargas when he arrived at a police station in the city.
Although the 72-year-old will appeal against the conviction and is unlikely to serve the whole sentence, his imprisonment has for now ended his hopes of regaining the presidency in October’s elections. A final decision on his eligibility will be made by the electoral court. Thousands of supporters, many from unions and leftwing social movements, had for two days formed a human shield around the union building in the São Bernardo do Campo district of the city to prevent Lula from handing himself in.
“He managed to transform the moment of his imprisonment into a demonstration of his political force and popular support, not humiliation,” said Maurício Santoro, a political scientist and professor of international relations at Rio de Janeiro’s State University.(theguardian)…[+]