Former Brazilian President surrenders to police


Lula tried to leave the Union headquarters around 5 PM on Saturday (the 7th) but militants surrounded the gate and prevented him from leaving by vehicle.

Brazilian former president (2003-2011) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (L) raises his fist next to Brazilian former president (2011-2016) Dilma Rousseff during a Catholic Mass in memory of Lula's late wife Marisa Leticia, at the metalworkers union building in Sao Bernardo do Campo, in metropolitan Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 7, 2018.

He had been on his way out of the building to hand himself in to police.

"If my crime was putting poor, black people in universities, allowing poor people to eat meat, to have their own cars, have their own homes", Lula said, "then I will continue being a criminal in this country, because I will do much more".

Meanwhile, another group attempted to mob the vehicle itself.

Lula handed himself over to police custody earlier on Saturday, following a tense standoff between his supporters and the authorities.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been arrested and certainly will develop into the very first former or current president at Brazil's current background to become jobless. Anti-Lula demonstrators sounded horns and lit fireworks as a police motorcade escorted the former president to the police station in Sao Paulo.

As da Silva holed up in the metalworkers union hall following Thursday's ruling, thousands of his supporters gathered outside to demonstrate, and jostled to block authorities from taking the former president as he surrendered Saturday.

The 72-year-old is to serve a 12-year sentence following his conviction on corruption charges last year.

Lula says his conviction was created to stop him from running for president in October's poll, which he had been favourite to win.

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Tens of millions of people were lifted out of poverty thanks to the initiatives taken by his government and he left office after two consecutive terms (the maximum allowed in Brazil) with record popularity ratings.

But others in the city expressed satisfaction over the ex-president's fate, coming to take pictures in front of the prison, which they dismissively called "Lula's house".

Lula was condemned by Judge Moro in the Guarujá triplex apartment case in July of 2017.

"I am the only human being to be put on trial for an apartment which does not belong to me", he said.

"I will comply with the order, " he said to supporters at the union, where he had avoided prison for two days.

As things stand, anyone convicted and losing a first appeal, as in Lula's case, must conduct further appeals from prison.

But several bodyguards pushed back supporters trying to keep him from leaving.

Many Brazilians nostalgic for the social gains made during the Lula era came out to support him.

Da Silva, known to Brazilians as Lula, said he would "go there and face them eye to eye". "Free Lula, free Lula!" the crowd chanted.

The feverish political drama - blending Lula's charismatic political style, the epic struggle against graft, and the fate of the October elections - has gripped Latin America's biggest nation.

For many, Lula epitomizes Brazil's corruption-riddled elite.

Having carved out a sustained and ample lead in the polls, da Silva promised his followers that the Workers' Party could once again wrest control of Brazil's destiny, and prioritise policies to narrow the country's steep inequality.