2,000 rally in Brazil to urge imprisonment of ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

November 21, 2016 7:00 pm
Thousands of Brazilians have taken to the streets of Sao Paulo to demand the imprisonment of the former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, over alleged corruption charges.
Waving national flags and holding an inflatable effigy of Lula in a prisoner’s outfit, some 2,000 demonstrators called on the authorities to arrest the former president.
Lula, along with his wife and six other officials, faces allegations of involvement in the scandal surrounding the country’s oil giant, Petrobras.
The protesters also praised Judge Sergio Moro, the strict magistrate leading the investigation in the Petrobras case, chanting “ supports Moro.”
There are rumors that construction companies conspired with Petrobras executives to overcharge the oil giant as much as USD two billion, some of which was paid out as bribes to politicians and parties. Based on the accusations, Lula received bribes amounting to USD 1.1 million.
The former Brazilian president and his wife are also charged with receiving a luxury apartment at a seaside resort in Sao Paulo from a major construction company involved in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) is pictured with his wife Marisa Leticia at a polling station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Brazilian prosecutors say the multi-billion-dollar Petrobras graft scheme originated during his 2003-2011 presidency term and continued during that of his successor, President Dilma Rousseff, who was also ousted by the Senate for tampering with financial data during an electoral campaign.
The 70-year-old ex-president has strongly denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly declared his innocence, saying the prosecution against him and his associates is politically motivated.
Lula, who was key to bringing the summer Olympics to Rio, left office with huge popularity thanks to social programs during his administration that lifted tens of millions of Brazilians from poverty.
His legacy, however, has been seriously tainted by the emergence of the scandal, named Operation Car Wash, in which dozens of politicians and executives stand accused of having embezzled from the huge state oil company.
Lula, though, retains some public support in Brazil. Most recently, more than 100 people held an overnight vigil in support of Lula near his apartment in the Sao Bernardo do Campo municipality in Sao Paulo. The protest had been called for on social media following a rumor in the media about his possible arrest.
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