Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has praised the tens of thousands of supporters of President Dilma Rousseff who were out on the streets to show solidarity.
In a massive show of strength, Rousseff and Workers Party supporters carried red flags and chanted “No coup” in the streets of Sao Paolo, Brasilia and Rio de Janiero on Friday.
In Sao Paolo, Lula said those campaigning for an impeachment are retaliating against their defeat by Rousseff in the 2014 presidential polls, referring to the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB).
“I lost elections in 1989, 1994 and 1998 and in no moment I went to the streets to protest against those who won. They expected to win, and now they have been trying to get in the way of President Dilma,” he said.
In the anti-government protest in Sao Paulo on Wednesday, the Sao Paulo Industry Federation, which is openly in favor of impeaching Rousseff, served lunches to protesters who occupied Sao Paulo’s most important avenue for 39 hours.
“They dress in yellow and green to say they are more Brazilian than us, but if they bleed, just watch to see if their blood is not red like ours,” said Lula, referring to protestors dressed in the colors of the Brazilian flag.
Rousseff’s supporters generally sport red, the color of the Working’s Party, of which both Lula and Rousseff are members.
Lula was officially sworn in as Rousseff’s Chief of Staff on Thursday, which was immediately challenged by several federal judges.
On Friday, the Brazilian supreme court ruled to suspend his inauguration.
On Thursday, a commission was elected in the House of Representatives to weigh the impeachment process on Rousseff. The commission will meet in 10 sessions, during which the president will have the opportunity to defend herself.
The opposition parties have accused Rousseff of trying to protect Lula from corruption investigations by bringing him into the cabinet. As a cabinet member, Lula can only be tried by the Supreme Court.
In his speech in Sao Paolo on Friday, Lula denied that he was trying to escape the investigations. He said his only intention when accepting the cabinet position was to make a contribution in the administration.
“I’m not there to fight, I’m there to help comrade Dilma to do what she has to do in this country,” he said, “President Dilma still has two years and nine months of government, and that is enough time for us to change this country’s history.”
At a public event in Feira de Santana, a city in Bahia, on Friday, Rousseff said “justice can not be politicised”.
“Today we have strong institutions, both in the judiciary and the police. These institutions are apolitical because justice can not be politicized. My government granted autonomy to the Federal Police to investigate whoever needed. My government respects the prosecution and the judiciary… Nothing and no one can defend a justice or a police force that is in favor of someone on political criteria,” the Brazilian President said.
Rousseff also criticised Judge Sergio Moro, the lead prosecutor in Operation Lava-jato, a two-year investigation into corruption at the state-run oil company, Petrobras, for releasing nearly 50 audio recordings to the media on Wednesday evening.
Among the tapped conversations were a secretly recorded phone call between former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva and Rousseff.
“The President of any democratic country in the world has what is called constitutional guarantees, he/she can not be wiretapped unless expressly authorized by the country’s Supreme Court. In many parts of the world, one who secretly tapes a president would be arrested if they do not have legal authorization of the Supreme Court. Try and tape the President of the United States and see what happens,” said Rousseff.
TBP and Agencies