HAVANA — 1000’s of Cubans marched on Havana’s Malecon promenade and elsewhere on the island Sunday to protest meals shortages and excessive costs amid the coronavirus disaster, in one in every of largest anti-government demonstrations in reminiscence.
Many younger folks took half within the afternoon protest within the capital, which disrupted site visitors till police moved in after a number of hours and broke up the march when a couple of protesters threw rocks.
Police initially trailed behind as protesters chanted “Freedom,” “Sufficient” and “Unite.” One motorcyclist pulled out a U.S. flag, however it was snatched from him by others.
“We’re fed up with the queues, the shortages. That’s why I’m right here,” one middle-age protester informed The Related Press. He declined to determine himself for worry of being arrested later.
Cuba goes by way of its worst financial disaster in many years, together with a resurgence of coronavirus instances, because it suffers the results of U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
An official within the Biden administration tweeted help for Sunday’s demonstrations.
“Peaceable protests are rising in #Cuba because the Cuban folks train their proper to peaceable meeting to precise concern about rising COVID instances/deaths & medication shortages. We commend the quite a few efforts of the Cuban folks mobilizing donations to assist neighbors in want,” tweeted Julie Chung, performing assistant secretary for state for Western Hemisphere affairs.
Cuba’s director basic for U.S. affairs, Carlos F. de Cossio, dismissed her remarks in his personal tweet: “US State Division and its officers, concerned to their necks in selling social and political instability in #Cuba, ought to keep away from expressing hypocritical concern for a scenario they’ve been betting on. Cuba is and can proceed to be a peaceable nation, opposite to the US.”
The demonstration grew to a couple thousand within the neighborhood of Galeano Avenue and the marchers pressed on regardless of a couple of fees by cops and tear fuel barrages. Folks standing on many balconies alongside the central artery within the Centro Habana neighborhood applauded the protesters passing by. Others joined within the march.
Though many individuals tried to take out their cellphones and broadcast the protest dwell, Cuban authorities shut down web service all through the afternoon.
About 2 half of hours into the march, some protesters pulled up cobblestones and threw them at police, at which level officers started arresting folks and the marchers dispersed.
AP journalists counted a minimum of 20 individuals who had been taken away in police automobiles or by people in civilian garments.
“The folks got here out to precise themselves freely, and they’re repressing and beating them,” Rev. Jorge Luis Gil, a Roman Catholic priest, stated whereas standing at a road nook in Centro Habana.
About 300 folks near the federal government then arrived with a big Cuban flag shouting slogans in favor of the late President Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. Some folks from the group assaulted an AP videojournalist, disabling his digital camera, whereas an AP photojournalist was injured by the police.
Demonstrations had been additionally held elsewhere on the island, together with the small city of San Antonio de los Banos, the place folks protested energy outages and had been visited by President Miguel Díaz-Canel. He entered a couple of properties, the place he took questions from residents.
Afterward, although, he accused Cuban of stirring up hassle.
“As if pandemic outbreaks had not existed everywhere in the world, the Cuban-American mafia, paying very effectively on social networks to influencers and Youtubers, has created a complete marketing campaign … and has known as for demonstrations throughout the nation,” Diaz-Canel informed reporters.