Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was convicted of corruption in July. Now he is on the road mobilising those he lifted out of poverty

Wearing their best red T-shirts, carrying flags and banners, and buzzing with excitement, thousands of people in this poor, dusty farming town had thronged the main square to see Lula and they screamed and stretched out their hands when he walked on stage.

The bearded, gravel-voiced leftist leader’s rule ended seven years ago, yet he remains the most popular Brazilian president in decades, if not in the country’s history.

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