Brazilians take over the streets after Lula jailed

Issue 
Protesters condemn the jailed of Lula, Sao Bernardo do Campo.

The Brazilian Supreme Court decision jailing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for 12 years — ruling out the politician leading opinion polls ahead of October elections — has caused an uproar in Brazil, writes Zoe PC.

João Pedro Stedile, leader of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), sees the latest developments as a continuation of the coup of 2016 that forced out democratically elected president Dilma Rouseff, from Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT). 

Stedile said: [The ruling class] needs to gain more time to guarantee the control of the executive power in the elections in October. The people do not like them and they do not have a candidate.

“So this direction now that [Lula] go to prison is just another chapter of the general coup, that is against all of the people. They want to lock up Lula not because he has committed a crime; he has not.

“It is political persecution, to even the score and impede his candidacy.”

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Dilma spoke outside Lula’s home in São Bernardo do Campo on April 5. “They want to erase from history what we did in our terms. They want to erase the access to education for millions of young Brazilians.

“They don’t want the black majority in this country to have access to public services. They don’t want Brazil to be respected.”

Leaders from diverse social movements in Brazil have called for intensifying the huge mobilisations and actions that have been taken place across Brazil since April 4. They are calling on the masses to support Lula, and denounce the right wing’s blatant attacks on Brazilian democracy and the constitution.

They have also called on people across the world to protest in front of Brazilian embassies in their cities.

By the morning of April 6, MST members were already blocking roads in Paraná state.

The platform of social movements, Frente Brasil Popular (People’s Brazil Front) is among those calling for a day of people’s struggles and actions to defend Lula. It said: “With this decision, the Supreme Court to leave the Brazilian people out from the directions that the country must follow in this moment of political crossroads.

“The solution to the institutional, political, and economic crisis that today affects millions of Brazilians is in the elections. It is the people who should choose who will govern and what program the nation should follow.

“Once again, the judicial power ... fulfills the role of active servants of international neocolonialism that wants to suck Brazil in its multiple dimensions, its natural resources, its states, its labour relations and make it so the role of the nation is diminished in world geopolitics, becoming a colony once more.”

Stedile also spoke about the next steps that the left and working class must take to defend Lula, saying: “This is still part of a long championship match, and with this, we must revolt and provoke a reaction from the people. The masses should be the protagonists of politics, not watch with their arms crossed …

“We have to do more in other places, in the plazas, public spaces, take the streets and protest against this jailing. We don’t have Globo [Brazil’s largest media house], but we have social media. Use your profiles! Transform your house into a communications hub that is with the people.

“We need mobilisation. Those who belong to trade unions, go on strike! Show that without the work of the working class, they do not have wealth, they cannot continue exploiting us. The only way to free Lula is with mobilisations of the masses.”

[Abridged from The Dawn.]

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