Lula says innocent but ready to surrender

Brazil,Landless peasant movement blocked several highways around the country Friday morning in protest of Lula's arrest warrant

Lula was found guilty in "Operation Car Wash" scam that also involves a score of top politicos of Brazil.

Surrounded by bodyguards, Lula had to push through a seething throng of supporters to get into a police vehicle outside the metalworkers' union building in Sao Bernardo do Campo, where he had been holed up for two days and nights.

In an emotional hourlong speech earlier in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Lula called himself "an outraged citizen" over the graft conviction.

He told them that he is innocent. "Don't surrender! Stay here Lula!" they chanted. "I don't forgive them for giving society the idea that I am a thief". I am not running.

"You'll see that I will come out of this bigger, stronger", he said, promising to prove his innocence.

Lula has vowed to run for re-election from prison, which in his case will be a private, 160-square-foot room with unfettered access to lawyers and family members in the southern city of Curitiba.

But that is considered unlikely and Brazilian financial markets rallied on Thursday after the Supreme Court decision, which increased the chances a market-friendly candidate will win the election, according to analysts and political foes.

Brazil's current President Michel Temer avoided standing trial before the Supreme Federal Tribunal in October when allies in the lower house of Congress voted 251-233 to shield him from charges of corruption, obstructing justice and leading a criminal organization. Rare exceptions have been made in the past, and the final decision would be made by the highest electoral court if and when Lula officially files to be a candidate. "We need citizenship. And we need to have good people in politics again". "The question is whether he can maintain the activism of his supporters from behind bars". But as soon as Lula got into the grey vehicle, activists pushed against the metal gates, so that they could not be opened, nearly knocking them down.

"The intention is not to force compliance at any cost, but rather follow the order the best way possible, with tranquility and without a media show", president of the federal police Luis Antonio Boudens said in a statement late on Friday.

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"Operation Car Wash went much further than anyone expected, including those in the main parties, the big figures in Congress and even [President Michel] Temer himself", said Sylvio Costa, founder of the specialist website Congresso em Foco.

The former president was convicted accepting bribes from a large Brazilian construction company in return for government contracts.

Throughout the whole ordeal, Lula has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and declared himself a victim of political persecution.

And what was likely to be at the forefront of their minds was this, he said: "If Lula, who is so popular and who has topped all the polls this year, becomes a prisoner, what is going to happen to me?"

Da Silva has denied the charges against him, and insists the case was an attempt to thwart his campaign for another turn at Brazil's presidency. During his mandate, Brazil rode a commodities boom and Lula became an global icon. He dreamed of making a comeback and reclaiming his place as the country's leader through October elections. "There is a conspiracy in Brazil between the media, the judiciary, the prosecution service and police", said Lula.

Later, Lula Da Silva underwent a medical examination, mandatory for all inmates who are starting to serve their jail term.

Others celebrated his jailing as the sign of a new chapter in a country where the rich and powerful have historically gone unpunished for corruption.

"The law is applicable to everyone", wrote Alckmin who is running for the PSDB, a centre-right party whose former head Senator Aecio Neves stood down as a candidate after being charged with corruption.

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