Tens of thousands of people flocked to Brazil’s capital to attend the demonstration inauguration of Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva as the country’s new president.

The left-wing veteran defeated far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in October’s election to return for a third term that supporters hope will turn the page in four turbulent and divisive years.

The crowds gathered at the seat of power in Brasilia on Sunday sang at the top of their lungs, paraded carnival-style torches and waved giant red and rainbow flags.

A group of native dancers covered in body paint played traditional percussion instruments and sang.

“Shake your maracas, life will get better with Lula as president,” their song read, echoing the charismatic yet controversial ex-president’s pledge to “make Brazil happy again,” as during the boom of his first presidency (2003 -2010).

Indigenous groups have been among the strongest critics of Bolsonaro, who pushed to open their protected reserves to mining and spearheaded a wave of Amazon rainforest destruction.

“I came to Lula’s inauguration because I don’t like Bolsonaro. Unlike him, Lula respects the indigenous peoples,” said indigenous leader Bepkriti Teseia, 42, who wore a giant feather headdress and spoke through an interpreter.

Fans from all over the country lined up in huge lines to seep through the tight security cordon around the Presidential Palace and Congress, chanting chants as they waited, such as “Lula, guerreiro do povo brasileiro!” (Lula, warrior of the Brazilian people).

Most were decked out in Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) red. But 15-year-old Sofia de Souza Martins came in Brazilian yellow and green, which Bolsonaro supporters had claimed as their symbol.

“These colors belong to everyone,” said the Sao Paulo high school student, who traveled some 1,000 km (more than 600 miles) by bus for the event, which the outgoing president rejected by flying to the US state of Florida on Friday . .



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