>> Brazil's former president arrived at jail for a 12 year sentence on Saturday. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva turned himself into police, ending a day-long standoff to begin serving the term for corruption. Late on Saturday Lula was flown by the police to the Southern city of Curitiba where he was tried and convicted late last year to start his imprisonment.
Supporters and detractors took to the streets outside the jail. Lula was Brazil's first working class president. He's insisted on his innocence, and called his bribery conviction political. He faces six further trials on corruption charges. Lula's fiery speeches captivated Brazilians and eventually won him two terms as president, from 2003 to 2011, when he led Brazil to robust economic growth.
He left office with sky high approval ratings of 83%, and was once called the most popular politician on Earth by former US president Barack Obama. Lula as convicted of taking bribes from an engineering firm in return for helping them land public contracts. A Brazilian Supreme Court Justice on Saturday rejected the latest plea by Lula's legal team which argued they'd not exhausted procedural appeals when a judge issued the order to turn himself in.
Lula's imprisonment removes Brazil's most influential political figure and front-runner from this year's presidential campaign. That throws the race wide open and strengthens the odds of a more centrist candidate prevailing.