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Brazil's ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is in jail. He was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for money laundering and corruption. It is a big downfall for the popular ex-leader. Mr da Silva still has huge support. Hours before giving himself to the police, his supporters were trying to stop him from going. Hundreds of supporters from a workers' union blocked the gate to stop Mr da Silva's car from leaving. It was only with the help of his bodyguards that he could get past the crowds. This meant clashes with armed police were avoided.
Mr da Silva is known as Lula. He was born in poverty but worked his way up workers' unions to become leader of South America's largest country. He was elected President in 2002 and served from 2003 to 2010. During his two terms, he started social welfare programs and improved the economy. This helped tens of millions out of poverty, which increased his popularity. Former U.S. President Barack Obama called him, "the most popular politician on Earth". When he left office, his approval rating was an impressive 83 per cent. He hopes to run for president again one day.
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