Cuban authorities round up women protestors in Havana march
Cuban authorities arrested about a hundred women Sunday, breaking up a march by the opposition group Ladies in White.
Shouting “Freedom! Freedom!,” the women offered no resistance as they were boarded onto buses by police and agents in plain clothes.
A group of about 100 government supporters, who arrived along with the authorities at the scene in Havana’s Miramar district, shouted “Viva Fidel, Viva Raul” as the women were taken away.
The women’s group, formed in 2003 by wives of political prisoners, marches every Sunday in the Cuban capital after hearing mass at Santa Rita parish church, with the government’s permission.
But dozens of police moved in and surrounded the marchers two blocks from the church after they headed toward the sea instead of along their usual route on Miramar’s Quinta Avenida.
The march coincided with the 20th anniversary of an incident in which 37 people, including 10 children, drowned trying to flee the communist-ruled island in a tugboat.
The tugboat sank after being intercepted by four Cuban vessels, which survivors said doused it with water cannon and rammed it.
A Cuban exile group marked the anniversary by launching fireworks Saturday night from a small flotilla of boats in waters off Havana, organizers said.
The Ladies in White, the only opposition group allowed to march in Havana, was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2005.