SAO PAULO – Two people were wounded in a gun attack against the “Free Lula” protest camp set up near the Federal Police precinct in Curitiba, where former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is serving a prison sentence on corruption charges, Brazil’s Workers’ Party (PT) said on Saturday.
“The #LulaLivre camp was the target of a shooting attack early Saturday morning. Two people were injured and one of them is in critical condition,” PT president Gleisi Hoffman said on Facebook.
Dozens of Lula supporters have set up camp since April 7 near the Federal Police Superintendency in Curitiba, in southern Brazil, where the former president is serving a 12-year and one-month sentence for allegedly accepting an apartment in exchange for helping Brazilian construction company OAS obtain lucrative contracts from state oil giant Petrobras.
Lula denies any wrongdoing, while prosecutors have failed to produce any evidence that the former president was the legal owner of the residence or even that he ever set foot inside.
The Curitiba Military Police confirmed that a 39-year-old man was shot in the neck near the Federal Police precinct.
Hoffman, who is also a senator for the state of Parana, said “more than 20 shots were fired” against the camp, leaving two people injured, including a member of the “Sao Paulo labor union movement,” who is “in critical condition and runs the risk of dying.”
“This is an outrage! We have to let the whole world know about this state of violence in Brazil, triggered by hate and intolerance. We cannot remain silent about the gravity of this situation,” the senator said, adding that she expected authorities to carry out a thorough investigation.
Several PT congressmen, as well as social and political leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize-winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, have attempted to visit Lula in prison, although most have not been granted authorization.
Lula, who continues to lead the polls ahead of October’s presidential election, has been visited by his lawyers, family members and a delegation of senators to inspect his living conditions in prison.
Brazil’s main labor unions have planned demonstrations in Curitiba for May 1, International Workers’ Day, to show their support for Lula and to demand his release from prison.