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500 days of injustice – We must right the wrong and #FreeLula

Today, August 20th, marks 500 days of the wrongful imprisonment of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva. This is a day of action and mobilisation for justice. Educators from around the world stand with their Brazilian colleagues in the call for freedom for President Lula. Join us!

One of the most beloved Presidents in Brazil’s history and its first working-class head of state, Lula is the victim of a grave miscarriage of justice. Despite a clear lack of evidence, he was jailed and prevented from standing in the Presidential elections against far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. With polls showing Lula as the likely winner, he was convicted under bogus charges and not allowed to participate in the elections, in spite of calls from the UN Human Rights Committee.

The policies that made Lula popular with Brazilians and helped improve the lives of millions are being rolled back under the Bolsonaro government. Free quality public education is being undermined to the detriment of the country’s students and its future. In Lula’s words, “the problems in Brazil won’t be solved with guns but with books and schools.”

With a strong background in the union movement, President Lula has been very supportive of education unions in Brazil and beyond, meeting with their representatives on several occasions. He welcomed delegates to Puerto Alegre for the 2004 Education International World Congress and spoke at the CNTE/Brasil 33rd National Congress in 2017. 

Education unions in Brazil have called for the release of President Lula and have taken a hard stance against the Bolsonaro government, its methods and policies. Roberto Franklin de Leão, International Relations Secretary of CNTE/Brasil and Education International Vice-President, stated: “The 500 days in prison of former President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva is a sad milestone for the recent history of Brazilian democracy. The collusion between segments of the Brazilian judiciary, in partnership with the large commercial media in the country and the local and international economic power wrongly imprisoned the greatest living leader in Brazil, the president who enjoys the highest approval ratings among the Brazilian population: Lula has been an ardent defender of quality public education for all Brazilians. None of the charges against him are true, but the silence of the Brazilian judicial control organs makes them all accomplices of this wrongful imprisonment. We’re all Lula! Freedom for Lula now!

David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, said: “500 days in prison without a fair trial cannot stand. This is not just about one person. This is about a country failing to deliver on its promise of true democracy, rule of law, equality and respect for human rights. This miscarriage of justice must stop now. At the Education International World Congress, representatives of 32 million educators made it clear: we stand with our Brazilian colleagues and call for the immediate release of President Lula.”

Join the action and add your voice to the call to #FreeLula! Here’s how you can contribute:


For more information about the campaign in defence of Lula, please visit


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