Friday, September 9, 2011

Protesters arrested at Cuban religious procession

Members of the Ladies in White where also arrested and released hours later.

A religious procession in Havana was marred by the arrests of at least six anti-government protesters on Thursday when they held up signs and shouted slogans against political repression.

The incident was the latest in a spate of small demonstrations in Havana that have drawn attention from groups overseas who oppose Cuba’s communist government and say the protests reflect growing popular unrest.

Police closed in quickly to forcibly detain the dissidents, then put them in police cars and drove them away.

The incident occurred as thousands of people walked through central Havana in the annual procession for Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba.

The processions were banned after Cuba’s 1959 revolution, but re-established after the 1998 visit of Pope John Paul II.

The detentions attracted bystanders, some of whom complained about the dissidents and others who criticized the police action, but none of whom joined in the protest.

Down with Fidel,” said one of the onlookers, referring to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

“The Cuban people are children of Our Lady of Charity and we are not going to allow these people to show such disrespect,” said another, Maria Gonzalez, who wore a yellow T-shirt, the traditional color of the Lady of Charity.

The Catholic Church on Monday denounced recent rough treatment of dissidents, including the Ladies in White, Cuba’s best-known opposition group, but said the government assured it that it had not ordered the attacks.

Cuba, which considers dissidents to be mercenaries for its longtime ideological foe the United States, accused the Ladies in White in a state television report on Thursday of trying to provoke disorder “to justify aggressions” against the country.

Source: UpdatedNews

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