The conviction of former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to nearly ten years in jail for corruption has left the country divided.
While it marks a stunning fall for Lula himself, it is also likely to leave a power vacuum as he is currently the front runner for the 2018 presidential race.
His own party see the verdict as politically motivated.
Benedita da Silva, deputy of the Worker’s Party (PT) lashed out at the ruling:
“We see this result as an attempt to divert attention, because the focus today is that President Michel Temer has no moral authority to keep governing this country.”
Lula who is still free and likely to appeal is running on borrowed time. The guilty verdict is expected to be upheld which will put him in jail and out of politics,
Ruling coalition member Lobbe Neto was among several who congratulated Judge Sergio Moro who handed down the sentence.
Judge Sergio Moro found Lula, guilty of accepting 3.7 million reais (1 million euro) worth of bribes from engineering firm OAS SA, the amount of money prosecutors said the company spent refurbishing a beach apartment for Lula in return for his help winning contracts with state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
Lula has rejected the claim.
The case is just the first of five charges against him which relate to the massive Car Wash bribery scandal involving the state run oil company Petrobras.
On the streets and on social media the conviction has divided ordinary people:
Anti-Lula protest blocks away from the pro-Lula protest #Lula pic.twitter.com/vcbghNDcWe— J. Luis Rodriguez A. (@luisrodaquino) July 12, 2017
Sao Paulo takes to the streets in defense of #Lula after court hands down 9 year sentence pic.twitter.com/WZpWXnuNcq— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) July 12, 2017
I stand with Lula against the coup government in Brazil. LulapeloBrasil pic.twitter.com/R8AIF0CtG1— Vijay Prashad (vijayprashad) July 12, 2017