Protests by supporters of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) are set to take place in cities across Brazil on Wednesday, July 18, to mark 100 days since Lula was imprisoned. In Curitiba, demonstrators will rally outside the Federal Police Building (where Lula is being detained). In Brasília, protesters plan to gather at 18:00 (local time) in front of the Federal Supreme Court. Additional events are planned in other cities across the country. The demonstrations, taking place on what has been termed "Free Lula Day," have been organized by Lula's Workers' Party (PT) to call for his release from prison and to demand that he be allowed to run for president in October's general elections. The events are also being linked to the 100th birthday celebration of late South African President (and former political prisoner) Nelson Mandela.
Further protests of varying sizes are likely over the coming days and weeks, culminating with a national strike on August 10.
Lula was president from 2003 to 2011 and, as the country's first working-class ruler, was and remains a popular figure among much of the population. Lula was convicted on corruption charges in July 2017, and again in January 2018, and sentenced to 12 years in prison, but had remained free until April amid the appeals process. Despite his convictions, the PT plans to nominate him as the party candidate in the October 7 presidential elections; the electoral court will decide in August whether or not he will be allowed to officially run. Lula and the PT have characterized his conviction as a political ploy intended to keep him out of office.
Individuals in Brazil are advised to avoid all associated demonstrations due to the potential for violence, and to keep abreast of developments and the sociopolitical climate.
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