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Cuba clamps down on 'Ladies in White'

April 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

HAVANA, April 19 (UPI) -- Cuba is clamping down on protests by the "Ladies in White" -- female relatives of political dissidents jailed since 2003, witnesses said.

For the second consecutive week, Cuban security agents Sunday surrounded nine women and prevented them from marching after a church service in Havana, group member Alejandrina Garcia said.

The agents and women stood in a standoff for 3 hours in wilting heat until the women were forced into a bus and driven to the home of the group's leader, Laura Pollan.

"They did not let us take one step forward or backward. I was picked up by the arms and legs and forced into the bus," Garcia told El Nuevo Herald in a story published Monday.

Three women who felt ill from the heat were examined at a hospital, Garcia said.

In recent weeks, the Cuban government has called on all residents to defend the island nation against what it calls an "enemy campaign" protesting alleged human rights violations in Cuba.

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