Photos: Huge crowds gather for Lula’s swearing-in ceremony

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

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

The crowd of people gathered near the seat of power in Brasilia on Sunday sang at the top of their lungs, parading with carnival-style flare and waving giant red and rainbow flags.

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

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

Indigenous groups have been among the biggest critics of Bolsonaro, who pushed to open their protected reservations to mining and presided over a surge in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

“I came to see Lula’s inauguration because I don’t like Bolsonaro. Unlike him, Lula respects Indigenous peoples,” said Indigenous chief Bepkriti Teseia, 42, sporting a giant feather headdress and speaking through an interpreter.

Fans from across the country stood in huge lines to filter through the tight security cordon around the presidential palace and Congress, belting out chants as they waited, such as “Lula, guerreiro do povo brasileiro!” (Lula, warrior of the Brazilian people).

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

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

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