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Lula da Silva sworn in as Brazil's president

By Allen Cone
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holdd up the pen used to sign a document during his inauguration ceremony at Parliament in Brasilia, Brazil, on Sunday. Photo by Jarbas Oliveria/EPA-EFE
1 of 2 | Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holdd up the pen used to sign a document during his inauguration ceremony at Parliament in Brasilia, Brazil, on Sunday. Photo by Jarbas Oliveria/EPA-EFE

Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday was sworn in as Brazil's president for the third time, replacing his political opponent, Jair Bolsonaro, who served four years.

"I promise to maintain, defend and fulfill the constitution, observe the laws, promote the general good of the Brazilian people, support the unity, integrity and independence of Brazil," the left-wing politician said in a speech to Congress' Lower House.

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Lula da Silva, 76, served two terms as president from 2003-10. He was succeeded by Dilma Rousseff from 2011-16 and Michael Temer 2016-18.

Lula da Silva won by 2 percentage points in a runoff on Oct. 30 against the right-wing Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, who has refused to concede the election to his opponent, skipped the inauguration, boarded an air force plane bound for the United States. The craft landed late Friday in Orlando, Fla., Brazilian media reported.

In July 2017, Lula was convicted on charges of money laundering and corruption in a controversial trial, and sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison but spent only 580 years incarcerated because the Supreme Federal Court ruled in November 2018 that incarcerations with pending appeals were unlawful.

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While in jail, Lula attempted to run in the 2018 election but was disqualified.

In 2021 the Federal Supreme Court ruled that the court that tried Lula did not have proper jurisdiction over the case and nullified the charges.

During the ceremony in Brazil's congress, parliamentarians applauded Lula before breaking into a chant of "ole, ole ola, Lula, Lula."

"Public banks, particularly the BNDES, as well as companies that lead growth and innovation such as Petrobras will have a key role in this new cycle," Lula said. "The wheel of economy will spin again and popular consumption will have a central role in that process."

His day started in Brasilia with a parade. Then, there was the speech to parliament and then a trip to Planalto Palace, his official working address where he gave another speech.

Up to 300,000 people gathered along the esplanade to celebrate. Approximately 8,000 security agents from several police forces were mobilized this Sunday, according to the Federal District's security department.

On Wednesday, Brazilian Supreme Court judge ordered a four-day on carrying firearms in the capital.

Thousands of Bolsonaro's supporters gathered at military barracks across the country in protest of the election result.

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Police arrested a 54-year-old man on suspicion of planting and possessing explosive devices at Brasilia International Airport.

George Washington de Oliveira Sousa, a gas station manager, is a supporter of Bolsonaro. In a statement he said he intended to "create chaos" so as to prevent Lula da Silva from taking office again.

Bolsonaro condemned Sousa's actions, saying "there is no justification" for a "terrorist act."

"Brazil will not end on Jan. 1, you can be sure about that," Bolsonaro said. "Today we have a mass of people who know more about politics. They understand they are at risk. Good will win. We have leaders all over Brazil. New politicians or reelected politicians, they will make a difference."

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