Brasilia: After former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been found guilty of corruption, surrendered before the police on Sunday, fireworks and tears broke out in parts of a divided country.
Lula handed himself to the police, after spending two nights at the metalworkers’ union headquarters in Sao Paulo, in defiance of an arrest warrant.
Outside the metalworkers’ union, in stark contrast to the merrymaking, Lula was carried on the shoulders of his supporters shouting “Free Lula!”.
He was then flown to the southern city of Curitiba, where he would begin serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.
Military police in Curitiba were forced to disperse Lula supporters with rubber bullets and tear gas when he arrived at a police station in the city, The Guardian reported.
While fireworks and cheering broke out among his critics after his arrest, his supporters cried openly at the exit of a man they remember for removing tens of millions of people from poverty.
Although the 72-year-old would appeal the conviction, the imprisonment, for now, ended his hopes of regaining the presidency in October’s elections.
Lula was found guilty in ‘Operation Car Wash’ scam that also involves a score of top politicos of Brazil.
He was convicted of receiving a renovated beachfront apartment approximately worth of USD 1.1million as a bribe from an engineering firm.
Lula’s ownership of the apartment had reportedly not been proven yet.
Further his prime supporter, the chairman of the engineering firm, is himself convicted of corruption charges.
Lula had earlier served as the President of Brazil from 2003 – 2011. (ANI)