Brazil's ex-President Lula turns himself in to police

Brazil,Crowd of supporters that gathered since Thursday outside Metalworkers Union building vow to keep Lula out of prison

Judge Sergio Moro, who oversees numerous so-called "Car Wash" cases, then ordered an arrest warrant for da Silva, giving him until 5 p.m. Friday to present himself to police in Curitiba, about 260 miles (417 kilometers) southwest of Sao Bernardo do Campo, and begin serving his 12-year sentence.

According to the channel's report, the helicopter transporting the former president landed at a helicopter pad on the roof of the Curitiba Federal Police department and group of police officers met him and convoyed him inside the building. But as soon as Lula got into the grey vehicle, activists pushed against the metal gates, so that they could not be opened, nearly knocking them down.

Earlier, the same crowd had mobbed his vehicle and forced him to retreat when he attempted to drive out.

Police have made clear they do not want to take da Silva with force at the union, a confrontation that could turn violent.

He had been ordered to surrender to police by Friday but defiantly missed the deadline while shut up in the union building in Sao Bernardo do Campo.

"I will comply with the order", Lula told hundreds of supporters surrounding union earlier in the day.

Moro sentenced Lula to 91/2 years in prison, and an appeals court raised the jail term to 12 years and one month.

Addressing supporters, an emotional and combative Lula called himself "an outraged citizen" over his conviction.

During his speech, Lulatold cheering supporters that Brazil's top anti-corruption judge "lied" about him being given the luxury apartment by a big construction firm as a kickback.

But, crucially, Lula said he would drop his dramatic show of resistance and hand himself in.

Despite his many legal problems, Lula remains the easy frontrunner ahead of October presidential elections and if he is unable to compete, as expected, the race will be thrown wide open. A hard-right former army officer, Jair Bolsonaro, is now polling in second place.

"The prison order against Lula will scramble the electoral process even more by putting him in the spotlight", said Fitch Ratings director for Brazil, Rafael Guedes. "I will prove my innocence".

After the speech, Lula was lifted onto the shoulders of supporters who chanted, "I am Lula".

Lula was convicted a year ago of taking a luxury seaside apartment near Sao Paulo as a kickback from OAS, the construction company.

He was then flown to the southern city of Curitiba, where he would begin serving a 12-year sentence for corruption.

Curitiba, in the south of Brazil, is the base for the country's huge "Car Wash" anti-corruption operation in which Lula is the biggest scalp so far.

Ever since Wednesday, Lula and his supporters tried everything to delay the start of his prison sentence, battling everywhere from the Supreme Court to the streets.

The move intensified the roiling political drama in Latin America's largest nation and turned a man former US President Barack Obama once called "the most popular politician on Earth" into the region's most famous prisoner.

Surrounded by former president Dilma Rousseff and leading members of the Workers' Party, which he founded in 1980, he urged supporters to take action.

Lula Da Silva will become Brazil's first ex-president sent to jail as a result of a criminal trial. Over the last four years, Brazilians have experienced near weekly police operations and arrests of the elite, from top politicians to businessmen like former Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht.

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

But he has become the highest-profile figure ensnared in a sprawling corruption scandal that has tarnished Brazil's political class.

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