The Union of Federal Police Chiefs of the State of Paraná (SinDPF/PR) has filed a request with the Federal Police office to immediately transfer Brazil’s ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from their headquarters in Curitiba to another facility.
The Union Chair, Algacir Mikalovski, has told journalists during a press conference that they fear for local residents and Federal Police employees’ safety, as pro-Lula demonstrators are camping outside the building in Curitiba. However, Neudicléia Oliveira, from the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) and a coordinator of the Free Lula Camp, says Mikalovski’s claims are unfounded.
“Since Saturday, when ex-president Lula arrived at the Federal Police headquarters, we have been in contact with local residents to discuss the process of setting up our camp, showing we have the right to protest. We also understand the residents’ right to complain about the noise and the camp, because it’s not something they usually see in their neighbourhood. We have been trying to tackle these issues, introducing residents to the people who are coming to the camp, trying to demystify this idea that we are criminals, troublemakers, delinquents… Several local residents have actually joined the movement, providing electric power and water and letting us use their toilets and showers,” she said.
The SinDPF/PR claims the pro-Lula camp set up near the Federal Police’s headquarters in Curitiba is an ‘invasion’ and that ‘police officers and local residents are reporting, off the record, that they fear for their families’ safety in face of threats and the presence of these protesters.’
“We, Federal Police employees, and especially the Union of Federal Police Chiefs in the State of Paraná and the local residents in the surroundings of its headquarters, are feeling the impacts of the presence of convict Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. People who come to the Federal Police for a variety of reasons, such as to issue passports and travel documents, people from other countries who have nothing to do with the issue, the matter of guns, and many other services provided by the Federal Police are being negatively impacted by the presence of this convict here,” said Mikalovski.
While Mikalovski claims the pro-Lula camp was limiting the access to the Federal Police building, Brasil de Fato found the access was actually not being restricted, as the Free Lula camp is set up about 650 feet away from the building, which is secured by police officers.
Regarding the alleged threat to local residents and police employees’ safety, Oliveira refutes Mikalovski’s accusations. “On Saturday, we were attacked with bombs coming from inside the Federal Police building. We were protesting peacefully, watching the helicopter [that flew ex-president Lula from São Paulo to Curitiba] when it happened. We were brutally removed from the scene that day. We are following all the rules and orders. We have a dedicated group to communicate with all law enforcement agencies to keep to all the agreements,” she said.
The SinDPF/PR chair suggested that Lula be transferred to a State prison or military facility. However, the decision is up the State Federal Justice department. Mikalovski evaded the question about whether his request took into account the safety of Brazil’s former president.
“When we talk about the concept of safety, we think about everyone’s safety. There are extremists on all sides. But every law enforcement agency needs to consider the safety of everyone, especially the people who live in the surroundings of our headquarters,” he argued.
The Federal Police chief also expressed his opinion on ex-president Lula’s imprisonment. “The population already suffers the direct or indirect impacts of corruption, and now it is suffering with problems related to his prison sentence,” he said.
The pro-Lula camp organization in Curitiba claims they will not leave and will maintain their vigil as long as the ex-president is not freed.
Edition: Katarine Flor | Translated by: Aline Scátola | Reviewed by Pedro Ribeiro Nogueira