People hold up masks depicting the Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio da Silva during the Lula Free festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 28, 2018. Popular Brazilian musicians and social movements organized a concert to call for the release of da Silva, who has been in prison since April, but continues to lead the preferences on the polls ahead of October's election. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Brazilian celebrities hold 'Free Lula' concert in Rio

July 28, 2018 - 5:46 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Some of Brazil's most popular artists are calling for jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to be freed in a concert being held in Rio de Janeiro.

The leftist leader was convicted of corruption and money laundering, but his supporters say the sentence was politically motivated.

Thousands of people showed up to Saturday's free festival in front of the famous Lapa Arch in central Rio. Many wore shirts, bandanas, capes and masks with images of a young da Silva.

In between sets the crowd broke out into chants of "Free Lula!" using the politician's nickname.

Supporters also demanded that he be allowed to run in October's presidential election. Even though the "Clean Slate Act" prohibits convicts from running for public office, da Silva is leading polls.

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