Social organizations and movements in Brazil are taking to the streets of country´s main cities this Saturday in support of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva less than two weeks before his appeal trial. Dubbed the “national day of mobilization,” they are defending his innocence on passive corruption charges as well as his right to run in this year’s presidential race scheduled for October.
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The demonstrations are organized by the Popular Brazil Front, Landless Workers Movement, MST, National Student Union, UNE, and Central Workers Union, CUT.
More than 70 local and international social organizations are also traveling from different parts of Brazil to the southern city of Porto Alegre where Lula’s trial will take place on Jan. 24.
Local committees are being established to encourage public discussions about the case surrounding Lula and other political and social issues.
UNE vice president, Jessy Dayane, said these committees are intended to “give root to debate about what is going on in our country and denounce another step in the coup in Brazil,” referring to the impeachment of Brazil’s former President Dilma Rousseff and the rise of de-fact president Michel Temer.
Dayane went on to say that the case against Lula is an “attempt to invalidate his candidacy” in this year’s presidential election. She added that the public comments would also serve as a “tool to organize the people,” according to Revista Forum.
Some argue that Lula’s appeal trial was scheduled in a loathsome twist of planning by Brazil’s Fourth Regional Federal Court, TRF-4. Jan. 24 marks one year to the date in which Lula’s former wife, Marisa Leticia, suffered a stroke and passed away days later.
On more than one occasion, Lula attributed her sudden death to stress brought on by unwarranted probes into him and his family by political opponents. Conversations the former First Lady had with their children were leaked to the media during a series of investigations involving Lula.
“I don’t think Brazil was unfair with her, but these youngsters heading the Car Wash (investigations) are responsible for her death,” he said during a radio interview in Currais Novos, Rio Grande do Norte. “If they’re accustomed to messing with corrupt politicians who dash off humiliated and keep quiet, in my case, they’ll have to provide proof.”
His defense lawyers, Cristiano Zanin Martins and Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins, charged judge Sergio Moro with handing the former president a sentence void of “credible evidence of guilt being produced” and the “overwhelming proof of his innocence being brazenly ignored.”
They’ve since described Lula’s legal woes as being a clear cut case of lawfare, otherwise, use of the legal system to delegitimize or damage political foes.
Over the past few months, polls undertaken by Vox Populi, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos have all shown that Lula enjoys a comfortable lead in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election.