Speaking in Portuguese, Lula said, "Unemployed workers at traffic lights holding signs with a sentence that embarrasses us: 'Please help me'."

Lula was then handed the presidential sash - a hugely symbolic act in Brazil that far-right former leader Jair Bolsonaro had repeatedly said he would never do - by Aline Sousa, a Black garbage collector

Tens of thousands who had gathered to celebrate on Brasilia's esplanade cheered as Lula wiped away tears.

Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil's president on Sunday at the National Congress, delivering a searing indictment of Bolsonaro and vowing a drastic change of course to rescue a nation plagued with hunger, poverty and racism.

Lula's inauguration took place amid heightened security.

Some of Bolsonaro's supporters have protested that the election was stolen and called for a military coup to stop Lula returning to office in a climate of vandalism and violence.