Former Brazilian President surrenders to police

Former Brazilian President Lula waves to supporters outside of ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo

When he tried to leave to turn himself in, dozens blocked a gate where a auto carrying Lula was trying to exit.

Protests both in support of and against the former president flared throughout the country over the weekend.

Protesters supporting Lula clashed with police outside the walls of the building. Da Silva then entered a police vehicle and was taken to a police station in Sao Paulo.

"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.

"We're here to give Lula strength to resist", said Maria Aparecida Mattos, 49, who said she qualified for assisted housing as a single working mother under one of Mr. da Silva's flagship programs.

Anna Julia Menezes Rodrigues, a specialist in criminal law at Braga Nascimento e Zilio, said da Silva's defiance did not turn him into a fugitive.

While da Silva spoke, some people cried while others chanted "Free Lula!" When he finished speaking, a sea of supporters carried him on their shoulders back into the building.

Lula, who insists he is innocent of wrongdoing, denied that he was trying to evade justice by ignoring a judge's order to surrender to federal police, after his lawyers lost their latest appeal against their client's 12-year sentence for alleged corruption.

"Of course a strong political leader like Lula would use the opportunity to benefit politically", Prof. In this particular case the goal is to destroy Lula politically and to destroy his party, the worker's party.

Last year, Moro convicted Lula of trading favours with a construction company in exchange for the promise of a beachfront apartment. Former president Dilma Rousseff and several of Lula's former cabinet members were present, as well as leftist presidential hopefuls.

Born in the north east, da Silva rose through the ranks of the union in the country's industrial south.

When that was turned down, he engaged in a standoff with authorities in his hometown of Sao Bernardo do Campo, outside Sao Paulo.

After running for president several times, in 2002 da Silva finally won.

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He served as president from 2003 to 2010, gaining approval ratings in the high 80s.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama once called da Silva the "most popular politician on Earth". "The question is whether he can maintain the activism of his supporters from behind bars".

"Brazil has scored a goal against impunity and corruption, but it's hardly that".

Last month, a campaign bus carrying Lula came under fire as it was travelling between towns in southern Brazil ahead of the Oct 7 presidential election.

Barbosa's anti-corruption credentials will help him draw votes away from centrist candidate Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) and environmentalist Marina Silva and help him reach the second-round run-off, Eurasia said.

Technically, the fact that he will be jailed does not keep him off the ballot.

In August, however, the country's top electoral court makes final decisions about candidacies. He could appeal such a decision, though doing so from jail would be complicated.

The former leader is the latest of many high-profile people to be ensnared in possibly the largest corruption scandal in Latin American history.

The renovation was bankrolled by a company seeking contracts with the state oil giant Petrobras.

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

"I am the only human being to be put on trial for an apartment that does not belong to me", he said.

As he was the front-runner for October's presidential race, Lula's arrest increases the unpredictability of the election. "Those who persecute me can do what they want to me, but they will never imprison our dreams". The sign reads: "Lula, the place for a thief is prison".

"I will comply with the order", he told the cheering crowd.

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