Dissidents in Cuba
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December 2007
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Human rights marchers roughed up in Cuba

Human rights marchers roughed up in Cuba
By Ray Sanchez | Sun-Sentinel.com
4:20 PM EST, December 10, 2007

HAVANA – Government supporters roughed up a dozen peaceful demonstrators
marking International Human Rights Day with a silent march Monday.

The melee broke out shortly after Cuba announced its intention to sign
two U.N. pacts on political and civil rights, part of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said at a news conference Monday
morning that Cuba had agreed to sign the agreements in the coming months
after years of what he called anti-Cuban manipulation of the U.N.'s
human rights body by the United States.

"Cuba is not acting, nor will it ever act, under pressure," he said.

Moments after Perez Roque's news conference, anti-government
demonstrators led by dissident Darsi Ferrer locked arms and embarked on
a silent march around a Havana park, located near the U.N. offices.

As the demonstrators marched and a handful of other people joined them,
government supporters shouted "traitors" and "Viva Fidel."

After circling the park, the marchers were quickly surrounded by dozens
of government supporters and plainclothes security agents who pushed and
shoved the protestors.

"Fidel! Fidel!" the government supporters shouted.

One demonstrator, an elderly man with a cane, was dragged away by
security agents. The crowd pushed and shoved the other marchers for
several blocks.

Another demonstrator, a young woman in her late teens or early 20s, was
assaulted by a female government supporter who had to be pulled away by
security agents. The demonstrators dispersed after about a half-hour as
the angry crowd became more hostile.

Police have picked up dozens of dissidents in recent days for temporary
detention, according to the island's main rights group, the Cuban
Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

It was unclear how many of Monday's demonstrators were detained.


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