Brazil braces for looming arrest of former President 'Lula'

Brazil's Lula 'will not turn himself in to police'

Brazil's Lula 'will not turn himself in to police'

Forcing da Silva out of the union building on a Friday night would be a logistical nightmare given the thousands of supporters outside - clashes would be a possibility - and heavy Friday traffic in Sao Paulo. He leads opinion polls by a wide margin.

However, he said that it is "very likely" that the surrendering will take place in Sao Paulo, given that the former ruler is at the headquarters steelworkers union in metropolitan Sao Paulo, and it is not clear whether he will comply with Moro's order and will surrender willingly in Curitiba.

Lula, convicted past year of taking a luxury apartment as a kickback from a big construction company, has not spoken publicly since Judge Sergio Moro issued his dramatic arrest warrant on Thursday. The president is expected in courts of Curitiba (Paraná) to begin 12 years of his conviction for corruption; He, however, is located in São Paulo, home to his former metallurgical syndicate, tucked away by his followers and friends, and preparing a farewell speech.

Moro said the cell, a separate room with its own toilet, had already been prepared, and that Lula would not be handcuffed - if he came quietly.

His conviction stemmed from a wide-ranging corruption investigation into the state-run oil company Petrobras, dubbed "Operation Car Wash".

Demonstrators for and against the arrest of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are taking to the streets across Brazil.

Lula petitioned to the Supreme Court on Thursday to be allowed to remain free while pursuing appeals in higher courts against his conviction for receiving a seaside apartment as a bribe from a construction company.

The speed with which Moro issued the warrant surprised many, as legal observers said there were technicalities from da Silva's upheld appeal that would not be sorted out until next week.

"He (Lula) can show up here by private plane or if he shows up in Sao Paulo, he can travel aboard the Federal Police aircraft", which is "ready" to transfer him, said Jorge Chastalo Filho, head of the custody and escort team of the Federal Police of Curitiba to a group of reporters.

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Such technicalities "were simply a pathology that should be eliminated from the judicial world", Moro said in his statement.

Union leaders said in a statement posted on their website that Lula would speak to the crowd at 3 pm.

Supporters of Mr. da Silva, meanwhile, to see him victim of underhanded power agents who whipped a false unlawful case to maintain him along with his celebration from time for strength.

Lula was president from 2003-2011 and left office with high approval ratings. "Everyone to Sao Bernardo tomorrow from 5:00 am in front of Lula's house!" he tweeted.

The court's decision was met by protests both in for and against Lula, representing a deep divide within the country.

In theory, once someone has been convicted and lost their lower court appeal, they are barred from running for office under Brazil's clean slate law.

The same union was the launch pad for Lula's political career almost four decades ago when he led nationwide strikes that helped to end Brazil's 1964-85 military government.

Da Silva was convicted in July of helping a construction company get sweetheart contracts in exchange for the promise of the apartment.

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