BRAZILIAN ELECTIONS

More than 30,000 Brazilians to demonstrate for Lula’s registration as candidate

For the first time ever, a huge crowd will gather at Brazil's top electoral court to make sure a candidate can run

People’s Brazil Front, which gathers left-wing and people’s movements, estimates 30,000 people will participate in the demonstration / Julia Dolce

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be officially registered this Wednesday as one of the contenders for president in the country’s October elections. At least 30,000 voters are expected to take part in a demonstration outside the Supreme Electoral Court this afternoon to accompany the members of the Workers’ Party who will register the ex-president as a presidential candidate.

The number of protesters was estimated by the People’s Brazil Front, which is organizing the demonstration along with other rallies aiming to make sure Lula can run for office.

“We want to stage the largest possible demonstration, with a lot of people, gubernatorial and congressional candidates, and pastoral commissions. And more importantly, we want to bring the people together to take part in the registration of Lula with the Supreme Electoral Court,” said João Paulo Rodrigues, a member of the national board of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST).

The MST staged a national march with three columns of workers and activists with people’s movements from all parts of the country. They marched for five days and arrived in Brasília yesterday.

“Those who marched for five days on the road will go back home with a real sense of achievement and a copy of Lula’s registration as a candidate,” said the MST leader.

In addition to the demonstration, people’s movements are staging a Hunger Strike for Justice in the Supreme Court, against the conviction and imprisonment of the former president, as they understand the court ruling has no legal grounds and is politically motivated, only to keep him from running for office.

“It’s a very important mobilization process for society at large. This struggle is not just for the elections. It will also show our political articulation to the winner of the election. If Lula wins, it will be about supporting the government. If [far-right candidate Jair] Bolsonaro wins, it will be about defending movements and opposing the government,” Rodrigues said.

The MST estimates that at least 1,000 buses should come to Brasília for the demonstration to join the activists who came on other 200 buses and are already camping in the capital city of Brazil. “It will be a celebration of democracy,” the MST leader said.

Youth

One of the movements supporting Lula’s right to run for office is the Levante Popular Juventude (Youth Uprising), with activists marching with the three columns to Brasília.

For the demonstration outside the Supreme Electoral Court building, the Levante planned several activities to energize the “celebration of democracy.”

“The Levante will be very lively, bringing joy to the Brazilian people to register Lula to run in this election. We are coming in full force and with the enthusiasm we need right now. We’re having the ‘Come with Lula’ band, bringing the energy of carnival, a folk party, stilts, confetti, music, agitation. We want to say that, despite this [2016] coup, the people are staying strong to have Lula running as a candidate, and to be our president,” said 27-year-old Nátaly Santiago, from the national coordination of the Levante.

The Levante will also hold political debates in a fun, easygoing environment.

“People know there is no evidence against Lula, people know there is no crime. So we are having this big carnival band playing songs that address political issues, funny interventions about [coup president Michel] Temer and [Supreme Court Justice] Cármen Lúcia, to start this political conversation about the coup process and how the people can resist against this ‘Injustice League’ and its judge Sérgio Moro, who is some sort of Captain America,” Santiago said.

The chair of Lula’s Workers’ Party, Gleisi Hoffmann, visited the camp set up by the landless workers last night. “Lula is the people’s choice. The polls show that. We want – all of us – Free Lula, Lula running, Lula for president,” she said.

Edition: Rafael Tatemoto | Translated by Aline Scátola