Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was backed by rallies staged Sunday morning (Mar. 13) outside the condominium where he lives, on Prestes Maias Avenue, São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo. Among the demonstrators were members of the Workers' Party (PT), the Unified Workers' Center (CUT) and the Socialist Youth Union (UJS). The organization estimates that approximately 500 people have joined the event.
Still inside the condominium, Lula beckoned at the crowd with his grandson in his arms. Around midday, the former president came outside to greet the protesters. Most were in red and many were holding social movement flags and the national flag.
This week, the São Paulo Prosecution Office ordered the preventive arrest of the ex-president for money laundering and identity fraud. In a note, Lula Institute denied all charges. President Rousseff described the ruling as not legally founded.
In response to the demonstration against the federal government and ex-president Lula, activists and PT congresspeople staged a car parade through the suburbs of Fortaleza. The group congregated in the Parangaba district and drove through some 12km.
The convoy was organized by PT Deputy José Guimarães, the government's leader in the lower house, as part of the preparation for the rallies to be held March 18 all across the country. “We should back Lula with solidarity now, bearing in mind what he represents for the Brazilian people. This is just a warm-up for March 18.”
On the sidewalks, people showed their support. Some were carrying red flags.
Journalist Paulinho Oliveira, 40, one of the activists following the rally, was wearing green and yellow. “I made a point to do it because, sadly, the colors of our flag are being usurped. The national flag belongs to all of us, especially the majority of us who decided that Dilma Rousseff would be president. An impeachment without an offense is a coup.”
“Being here today means playing the opposite role, peacefully, with no violence and no confrontation, but trying to convey the message that this is the real Brazil, far away from the Brazil taking the streets today and calling for the return of colonialism and patriarchy,” said Federal Deputy and former Fortaleza mayor Luizianne Lins.
In Rio de Janeiro, Rousseff supporters gathered in the afternoon on São Salvador square for a meeting of the Popular Brazil Front, which brings together social movements and such political parties as the PT and the Brazil Communist Party (PCdoB). The goal was to make the rally this week known to a wider public. Demonstrations are expected to include a rally on Monday (14), outside the O Globo newspaper headquarters, apart from the protest scheduled for Friday afternoon (18) downtown.
Olando Guilhon, a member of the National Forum for the Democratization of Communication, urged demonstrators to join the march and said the demonstrations will be staged “in defense of citizenship and the democratic State.” “If the government doesn't behave the desired way, we're going to fight to change it. But we can't let the media-supported right wing bring the democratic process to a halt.”
Lawyer Georgia Belo, 49, attended the event, as she believes the impeachment calls against Rousseff are unfounded. “What we're seeing is the right wing mobilizing in an attempt to remove her from office arbitrarily. It's not acceptable.”
Retired nurse Maria de Fátima da Silva, 62, describes the attempt to interrupt Rousseff's rule as a coup. “What matters is a project for the inclusion of women, black people, and young people at the university. I won't tolerate a coup. That's why I've joined the fight,” she said.
*Additional information from TV Brasil.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.