Brazilian ex-president Lula holed up in union office amid stand-off

Brazil's top court rules that ex-president Lula can be jailed

Brazilian court rejects Lula's request to remain free

In a passionate, combative, hour-long speech, Lula accused the judiciary and Brazil's most powerful media conglomerate of assisting a right-wing coup with the ultimate aim of preventing him from competing in this October's presidential elections.

Lula was convicted a year ago of taking a luxury apartment as a kickback from a big construction company.

"I want to face them and look at them in their eyes", he said of his accusers. He has been given 12-year prison sentence for accepting a luxury apartment as a kickback. For many, Lula epitomizes Brazil's corruption-riddled elite.

"Lula did not comply with a judicial order", a spokesman for Moro told AFP, "but everyone knows where he is".

The former factory worker was convicted of receiving benefits from a construction company - including the upgrade of a beach-front apartment - as a reward for government favors. Party leader Gleisi Hoffmann said the court ruling violated "constitutional law and the presumption of innocence" and made Brazil "look like a little banana republic".

Lula was supposed to report to local authorities in the city of Curitiba, where a relatively luxurious cell is waiting to usher him in to a 12-year prison sentence for his corruption conviction.

Scores of them blocked his vehicle leaving the trade union building near Sao Paulo where he has been staying.

"There is no use in trying to stop me, "Lula wrote on Twitter".

It should be clarified that, because of the dignity of the position held, a reserved room, a sort of General Staff Room, was prepared in the Superintendency of the Federal Police itself for the commencement of the sentence.The former president will be separated from the other prisoners, without any risk to moral or physical integrity.

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Da Silva has always denied wrongdoing. After a few minutes of discussions, da Silva went back into the union building.

For two days, Lula defied a prison order and hunkered down at the union building, where he had led strikes during Brazil's military dictatorship and vaulted to national fame.

After running for president several times, in 2002 da Silva finally won.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama once called da Silva the "most popular politician on Earth".

His social programs were credited with lifting 20 million people out of poverty, according to a World Bank study, and he left office with soaring approval ratings.

Like so much in a nation that has become deeply polarised, that da Silva would soon be behind bars was being interpreted differently by supporters and detractors. Technically, being jailed does not keep him off the ballot.

The conviction, assuming it stands, will rule the 72-year-old out of political office for eight years under a "clean slate" law that disqualifies those with criminal convictions.

Operation "Car Wash" was named after the service station where agents initially investigated a minor money laundering scheme in 2014, before realizing that they'd stumbled on a gargantuan web of embezzlement and bribery at state oil company Petrobras and right through the political classes.

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