> Once dubbed the most popular politician on earth by President Obama. Lula was convicted last year for taking bribes from an engineering firm for help landing contracts with state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro.
But after the deadline, Lula remained holed up inside the headquarters of a steelworker's union in Sao Paulo, with aides and allies. Hundreds of supporters filled the street outside the union headquarters, chanting defiant speeches and calling the case a political witch hunt.>>
Brazil's Supreme Court this week rejected Lula's plea to remain free until he exhausts all his appeals. Lula is the frontrunner in all opinion polls for the presidential election in October. But this ruling will likely end his political aspirations, and blows the upcoming election wide open. His absence would leave Brazil's left without an obvious candidate to regain power following the unpopular current president, Michel Temer.
Federal police in Sao Paulo decline to say if they would attempt to forcibly take the former president into custody, a move that could trigger intense clashes with his supporters. A union spokesman said Lula was mulling his options with lawyers.