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Lula da Silva, 77, sworn in as Brazil’s president as predecessor Jair Bolsonaro flies to US

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president on Sunday, making a sharp denunciation of conservative former leader Jair Bolsonaro and promising a drastic change of course to save a nation plagued by hunger, poverty and racism.

Speaking to Congress after officially taking over the reins of Latin America’s largest country, Lula said democracy was the true winner of October’s presidential election when he ousted Bolsonaro in the most fraught election in a generation .

Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for the United States on Friday after refusing to admit defeat, rattled the cages of Brazil’s fledgling democracy with baseless claims of electoral weaknesses that sparked a violent movement of election deniers.

“Democracy was the great victor of this election, overcoming… the most violent threats to the freedom to vote, and the most abhorrent campaign of lies and hatred designed to manipulate and embarrass voters,” he said. Lula to the legislators.

Lula Da Silva, 77, Took Office As Brazil'S President For His Third Term. Luca Is Pictured On The Left Walking With A Group Representing Different Segments Of Society

Lula da Silva, 77, took office as Brazil’s president for his third term. Luca is pictured on the left walking with a group representing different segments of society

Lula Was President Of Brazil From 2003 To 2011. His Supporters Gathered On Sunday To Watch Him Be Sworn In.

Lula Was President Of Brazil From 2003 To 2011. His Supporters Gathered On Sunday To Watch Him Be Sworn In.

Lula was president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011. His supporters gathered on Sunday to watch him be sworn in.

Lula, who was behind bars during Bolsonaro’s inauguration in 2019 on corruption convictions that were later overturned, made a veiled threat to his predecessor.

Bolsonaro faces increasing legal risks for his anti-democratic rhetoric and his handling of the pandemic now that he no longer has presidential immunity.

The former president’s trip to Orlando, Florida isolates him from any immediate legal danger in Brazil. It is unclear where he resides in the sunny state.

“We have no vengeance against those who tried to subjugate the nation to their personal and ideological plans, but we will guarantee the rule of law,” Lula said, without naming his predecessor. “Those who made a mistake will answer for their mistakes.”

He also accused Bolsonaro’s government of committing “genocide” by failing to respond properly to the COVID-19 virus that killed more than 680,000 Brazilians.

“Responsibilities for this genocide must be investigated and must not go unpunished,” he said.

Lula’s government plans stood in stark contrast to Bolsonaro’s four years in office, which were marked by a decline in environmental protections in the Amazon rainforest, looser gun laws and weaker protections for indigenous peoples and minorities.

Lula said he wants to turn Brazil, one of the world’s largest food producers, into a green superpower.

He strengthened his commitment to ending deforestation in the Amazon, which rose to a 15-year high under Bolsonaro, and to repeal Bolsonaro’s looser gun policy, which led to a surge in gun ownership.

“Brazil doesn’t want more guns, it wants peace and security for its people,” he said.

Lula Was Seen Next To His Wife Rosangela Silva (Right) And Vice President Geraldo Alckmin (Second From Left). Alckmin'S Wife Maria Lucia Ribeiro Was Also Present (Far Left)

Lula Was Seen Next To His Wife Rosangela Silva (Right) And Vice President Geraldo Alckmin (Second From Left). Alckmin'S Wife Maria Lucia Ribeiro Was Also Present (Far Left)

Lula was seen next to his wife Rosangela Silva (right) and Vice President Geraldo Alckmin (second from left). Alckmin’s wife Maria Lucia Ribeiro was also present (far left)

Spectators Reacted Emotionally To Lula'S Swearing In As President

Spectators Reacted Emotionally To Lula'S Swearing In As President

Spectators reacted emotionally to Lula’s swearing in as president

A Woman Was Seen Wiping Her Tea While Looking At Lula

A Woman Was Seen Wiping Her Tea While Looking At Lula

A woman was seen wiping her tea while looking at Lula

Firefighters Sprayed Water On Those Attending Lula'S Inauguration Outside Planalto'S Presidential Palace

Firefighters Sprayed Water On Those Attending Lula'S Inauguration Outside Planalto'S Presidential Palace

Firefighters sprayed water on those attending Lula’s inauguration outside Planalto’s presidential palace

Another Supporter Watched Her Hold Back Tears

Another Supporter Watched Her Hold Back Tears

Another supporter watched her hold back tears

Supporters Were Seen With Their Hands Over Their Hearts As They Listened To The National Anthem

Supporters Were Seen With Their Hands Over Their Hearts As They Listened To The National Anthem

Supporters were seen with their hands over their hearts as they listened to the national anthem

Several Signs With Lula'S Face Were Seen In The Crowd, Along With T-Shirts And Hats With His Name On Them

Several Signs With Lula'S Face Were Seen In The Crowd, Along With T-Shirts And Hats With His Name On Them

Several signs with Lula’s face were seen in the crowd, along with T-shirts and hats with his name on them

After the swearing-in, Lula drove an open-top Rolls-Royce to the Planalto Palace, where he walked up the ramp with his wife and a diverse group that included Chief Raoni Metuktire of the Kayapó tribe, a young black boy and a disabled man.

Lula was then handed the presidential sash — a hugely symbolic act in Brazil that Bolsonaro had repeatedly said he would never do — by Aline Sousa, a black garbage man.

Tens of thousands who had gathered to celebrate on Brasilia’s esplanade cheered as Lula wiped away tears.

In a subsequent speech, he promised to unite the polarized country and rule all Brazilians.

“No one is interested in a country that is permanently at war, or a family that lives in disharmony,” Lula said. ‘There are not two Brazilians. We are one country, one great nation.’

Lula said he would be fiscally prudent, but made it clear that his main focus would be on ending hunger and reducing rampant inequality. He also said he strives to improve women’s rights and tackle racism and the legacy of slavery in Brazil.

“This will be the hallmark of our government,” he said.

Allies said Lula’s new social conscience was a result of his 580 days in prison.

Lucia Welcomed By Indigenous Brazilian Leader Raoni Meturktire (Four Left)

Lucia Welcomed By Indigenous Brazilian Leader Raoni Meturktire (Four Left)

Lucia welcomed by Indigenous Brazilian leader Raoni Meturktire (four left)

Lula Was Seen With Metukire, Known As Chief Raoni

Lula Was Seen With Metukire, Known As Chief Raoni

Lula was seen with Metukire, known as Chief Raoni

Lula’s inauguration took place under heightened security.

Some Bolsonaro supporters have claimed the election was stolen and called for a military coup to prevent Lula from returning to office in a climate of vandalism and violence.

On Christmas Eve, a Bolsonaro supporter was arrested for making a bomb discovered on a truck full of jet fuel at the entrance to Brasilia’s airport and confessed to wanting to create chaos to provoke military intervention.

Bolsonaro has seen his support evaporate from many former allies over the anti-democratic protests.

On Saturday night, then-President Hamilton Mourao, who was Bolsonaro’s vice president, criticized his former boss for allowing anti-democratic sentiment to flourish after his defeat at the polls.

“Leaders who were supposed to reassure and unify the nation … allowed silence or inconvenient and harmful protagonists to create an atmosphere of chaos and social disintegration,” Mourao said.

Lula (Center) Stood With His Wife (Right) And Metikire (Left)

Lula (Center) Stood With His Wife (Right) And Metikire (Left)

Lula (center) stood with his wife (right) and Metikire (left)

Lula’s election victory marked a stunning political comeback, winning an unprecedented third term after a hiatus that saw him spend a year and a half behind bars.

In his previous years as president of the Workers’ Party (PT) from 2003-2010, the former union leader lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty during a commodity boom that helped support the economy.

Now he faces the daunting challenge of improving Brazil’s stagnant economy while uniting a country that has become painfully polarized under Bolsonaro.

“A lot is expected of Lula. He will have the difficult mission of restoring normalcy and predictability in Brazil, and above all, delivering quick results that improve the quality of life of the inhabitants,” said Creomar de Souza, director of Dharma Political Risk consultancy in Brasilia.

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Jacky

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