By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the last day for Brazil’s political parties to legally register their candidates for this year’s Presidential elections, to be held in October, thousands of supporters of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are gathered in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, to demand that the former leader be set free from jail and allowed to run in this year’s election.
“We will see and even meet fighting comrades, who marched an average of 50km to free Lula and (protest) against the setbacks of agrarian reform and workers’ rights. We are absolutely sure that the return of democracy happens with people in the street,” stated Rosa Maria, one of the leaders of the national Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) to Forum Magazine, local voice of social movements in Brazil.
According to the entity, there are five thousand members in Brasilia, camping out until Thursday (August 16th) in the Mane Garrincha soccer stadium.
Since the beginning of the week, thousands of people have entered the country’s capital, blocking streets and major highways as they march and leading city residents to face dozens of kilometers of traffic jams.
Demonstrators came to the capital to accompany on Wednesday the registration of Lula’s candidacy for the highest public position in the country. His candidacy was announced by the Workers’ Party (PT) last week but the official registry of his name depends on a decision by the Electoral Court.
According to the Ficha Limpa law (Clean Slate) the former president may not be a candidate for any public office because he has been charged and convicted of a crime.
The PT party, however, claims that it is the will of the people that Lula run and that the former leader is still appealing his conviction.