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Cuban dissidents report crackdown on Human Rights Day

Cuban dissidents report crackdown on Human Rights Day
DEC 10, 2015 – 21:38
By Daniel Trotta and Nelson Acosta

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban police detained at least six protesters
shouting “Freedom!” and “Long live human rights!” in Havana on Thursday
and dissidents reported 100 detentions nationwide on U.N. Human Rights
Day, when some Cubans call unauthorised demonstrations.
Police and protesters tussled in plain view of journalists as they have
each Dec. 10 in recent years. As usual, pro-government
counterdemonsrators hurled insults at them as the protesters were shoved
into patrol cars and taken away.
The Ladies in White dissident group organised the demonstration at a
busy square near the entrance to the popular Coppelia ice cream parlour,
but few of its members arrived on the scene. Dissidents report that they
are typically detained at home or en route to protests.
The Havana clashes briefly interrupted traffic and led to pushing and
shouting, but there were no noticeable injuries.
Reporters witnessed six people detained for what a government spokesman
said was the offence of disturbing public order. The Cuban government
considers the dissidents paid mercenaries of the U.S. government, and
says its critics on human rights overlook Cuba’s guaranteed healthcare
and education.
The dissident Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National
Reconciliation estimated 100 detentions on Wednesday and Thursday and
expected that number to double, leader Elizardo Sanchez said.
Police searched six homes that serve as offices for the Patriotic Union
of Cuba (UNPACU) – Cuba’s largest dissident group – confiscating
computers and documents, said UNPACU leader Jose Daniel Ferrer.
Ferrer and Sanchez said police had been particularly aggressive with
UNPACU and the Ladies in White in recent days. The human rights
commission reported 1,447 short-term detentions of dissidents in
November, the highest single monthly total since it started keeping
records in 2010.
“I don’t criticize the Ladies in White, nor the Cuban government
either,” said Orlando Rivero, 65, a retired teacher who witnessed the
scuffling. “Differences of ideas should be respected. Cuba is a country
that respects human rights, but the ideas of the dissidents should be
respected as well.”
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Nelson Acosta; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: Cuban dissidents report crackdown on Human Rights Day – SWI
swissinfo.ch –
www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/cuban-dissidents-report-crackdown-on-human-rights-day/41832302

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