Lula succeeds Brazil’s far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro after defeating him in the polls in October. The President formally led Brazil from 2003 to 2010 which saw deforestation in the country dramatically reduce.
A number of Bolsonaro’s policies were slammed by climate change activists and advocates for Indigenous communities as he decimated a huge amount of the Amazon rainforest and championed fossil fuels.
Since the beginning of his leadership in 2019, there has been a 60 percent increase in deforestation in the Amazon.
In his first speech as President, Lula accused Bolsonaro of leaving Brazil in “terrible ruins” as he vowed to restore the country.
Bolsonaro flew to the United States ahead of the weekend rather than attending the handover ceremony on Sunday.
Supporters of the former President have been urging the army to launch a coup by camping outside army headquarters, though Bolsonaro has condemned their actions.
Despite outcry and protests from Bolsonaro’s supporters at the appointment of Lula, the inauguration saw Lula’s supporters don the colour red of his Workers’ Party as they gathered in front of Congress from the early hours.
Part of the celebration was a music festival called ‘Lulapalooza’ which saw over 60 artists perform on two stages which were draped in the national flag.
Supporters of the new President brought banners and placards to show their support with one sign reading: “Brazil needed this change, this transformation.”
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During the ceremony, Lula could be seen getting emotional following a challenging rise back into office following a stint in prison for corruption, though these convictions were annulled in 2021.
The President cried as he spoke to Brazilians who had gathered to see him following the ceremony who told him of being desperate for food and begging at traffic lights.
Despite declaring that his government would not adopt “a spirit of revenge”, he vowed to have Bolsonaro investigated over what he called a “genocide” in Brazil following his COVID-19 policies.
The President’s mission to “rebuild” Brazil will see a number of Bolsonaro’s policies removed including his controversial gun laws which Lula said would be revoked immediately.