Brazil homeless group occupies apartment in Lula corruption case

Guaruja (Brazil) (AFP) –


A group of homelessness activists briefly occupied Monday the seaside apartment at the heart of the corruption case that saw ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva imprisoned earlier this month.

About 30 members of the Homeless Workers' Movement and other leftist activists got into the triplex apartment in Guaruja, near Sao Paulo, hanging placards from the balcony in support of Lula.

"Release Lula or there'll be no peace," they shouted.

Lula was imprisoned on April 7 to start a 12-year sentence for accepting the apartment as a favor from a big construction company seeking contracts with state-controlled oil major Petrobras.

Lula denies having ever owned the apartment and says he was framed to prevent him from participating in October presidential elections, where he is currently the frontrunner.

The Workers' Party founder served two terms as president from 2003 to 2011.

Guilherme Boulos, coordinator for the homeless movement, tweeted that they wanted to "denounce the judicial farce that sent Lula to prison."

"If the apartment does belong to Lula, then the people are invited to stay here. If it's not his, then the judiciary should explain why he was arrested."

Meanwhile, Workers' Party leader and Senator Gleisi Hoffmann told AFP she was worried Lula risked depression in his prison cell.

"He is very lonely," she said. "Saturday and Sunday he was not allowed any visits, not even from his lawyers. That worries me because he could get depressed or sick."