Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was sentenced to nearly a decade in prison on corruption charges in 2017, should hear the verdict on his appeal attempt on Wednesday, January 24. If the appeal is rejected he could be disqualified from running in the October 2018 presidential elections. As Lula remains a popular, if divisive, figure in Brazil, such a scenario could trigger large-scale protests throughout the country. His supporters have already staged a number of protests in Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul state), where the court deciding on the issue is located (Federal Court of the 4th Region). Supporters are expected to hold another rally outside the courthouse between 07:00 and 18:00 (local time) on January 24. Anti-Lula protests are also likely.
Clashes between protesters and security personnel, and/or rival protesters, along with other forms of violence and localized traffic disruptions are possible at all protests.
Former President Lula da Silva was convicted of corruption and money laundering by a federal judge in July 2017. He was sentenced to nine and a half years in jail but remained free on appeal. Lula was president from 2003 to 2010 and, as the country's first working-class president, was and remains a popular figure among much of the population. His conviction is the highest-profile yet in a broad three-year corruption investigation in Brazil, called Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato). Lula's legal representatives have characterized the trial as a political witch-hunt, intended to keep him out of office.
Individuals in Brazil are advised to avoid any demonstrations due to the risk of violence and to keep abreast of the situation.
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