Dozens of people have been arrested in Cuba after thousands joined the biggest protests for decades against the island’s Communist government, media and opposition sources say.
Cubans have been angered by the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government’s handling of Covid-19. The protests are significant as critics face harsh punishment for dissent. The island’s president called for his supporters to “fight” the protesters. One of those at Sunday’s protests, named only as Alejandro, told BBC Mundo: “There is no food, no medicine, there is no freedom. They do not let us live.”
Protesters shouted “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship” in demonstrations across Cuba, including the capital Havana. “We are not afraid. We want change, we do not want any more dictatorship,” an unnamed protester in San Antonio told the BBC.
Anti-government protesters were arrested by security forces who were assisted by plain clothes officers, Reuters news agency reports. Images on social media showed what appeared to be security forces detaining, beating and pepper-spraying some of the protesters.