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Brazil's Lula still has power to influence politics

Tuesday - 10/04/2018 11:33
Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's surrender on Saturday capped a dramatic few days in Brazil. But the political spectacle is likely to continue as the country heads towards presidential elections in October.
GETTY IMAGES / Lula is lifted by supporters at the steelworkers' union building in Sao Paulo
GETTY IMAGES / Lula is lifted by supporters at the steelworkers' union building in Sao Paulo

"We are going to return to the time where just a few people have a lot of money, and a lot of people have nothing," Lula supporter Gisele Veloso says.

She was on the verge of tears as she stood outside the steelworkers' union in the early hours of Thursday morning. It was just after the Supreme Court ruled that Lula had to start serving his 12-year prison sentence for corruption and tensions were running high.

Spectacular fall from grace

For many, Lula still holds a special place. He was Brazil's first working-class president and helped lift millions out of poverty. He promised change in a country known for its gaping inequalities.

But it has been a stunning fall from grace for a man who was once the most popular leader in Brazilian history. Convicted and jailed for corruption and money laundering, he now has a less flattering claim to fame as the country's most famous criminal.

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