At a rally organized by Frente Brasil Popular movement on Avenida Paulista to protest against impeachment and call for democracy on Friday night (Mar. 18), former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Brazilians must learn to coexist with diversity. In his address in front of the São Paulo Art Museum (MASP), he told a cheering crowd that the time left of President Dilma Rousseff's term “enough for a turn in the country's history”.
Lula criticized the parties that ran against the ruling Workers' Party (PT) in the 2015 presidential race that saw Rousseff re-elected refuse to concede defeat in the polls and try to “disrupt” Rousseff's administration. “I want to tell those who don't like us, they may be unadvised, but we need to convince them that democracy is abiding by the votes of the majority of Brazilians,” he said.
He pointed out he has lost several elections, but never protested against his successful opponents. “When President Dilma wins, these people, who call themselves social democrats, who claim they are progressive, educated people—they won't accept the [poll] result. They've been trying to prevent President Dilma from ruling this country for one year and three months,” he said.
Lula spoke out against a wave of hatred in the country, but criticized people who have joined demonstrations for Rousseff's impeachment. “They're the kind of Brazilians who would rather go shopping in Miami every day, whereas we do our shopping on 25 de Março,” he said, referring to a popular discount shopping street in downtown São Paulo.
“This country needs to start growing again. We need a peaceful society. We need to understand that democracy is about coexisting with diversity. I wouldn't ask those who voted for Aécio [Neves, Rousseff's main political adversary in the latest election] to like me, or those who voted for Dilma to like him. All I want is for us to learn to live with our differences in a civilized manner,” he said.
For Lula, democracy is the only possible way to a government with popular participation. “They should see that these people in red here are some of the people who make Brazilians' daily bread.”
“There will be no coup”
About his position as Chief of Staff, which he took over on Thursday (17), Lula said he has been reluctant about accepting a government position since August last year. He maintains that he decided to join the government to help the country grow again. “I'm not there to fight, I'm there to help do the things that need to be done in this country. I don't think that those who don't like us are any less of a Brazilian than we are.”
Lula noted that some of the people in the protest on Avenida Paulista were among the people who had fought against the 1964 military coup that began a dictatorship period, and who had fought again to bring democracy back. And, he said, these people cannot approve of attempts to change the result of the 2015 election.
“We need to revive this country's good mood, the joy of being Brazilian, the proud of being Brazilian, that's what it's all about—rather than trying to advance a new election with a coup against Rousseff. We need to tell them that we, the people right here on this square, have stood up to end the military dictatorship, to restore democracy, and we won't allow a new coup in this country,” he said.
During his speech, Lula joined the crowd chants of “There will be no coup”. “We won't accept the end of democracy or any coup in this country.”
At one point, Lula urged protesters to raise their hands so he could take a picture of them for President Rousseff. “This should give her some peace of mind,” he said. Lula arrived on Avenida Paulista at around 19h, alongside São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad, Workers' Party Chair Rui Falcão, Labor and Social Security Minister Miguel Rossetto, and Minas Gerais State Governor Fernando Pimentel.
*With additional reporting by Sabrina Craide.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.