Cuban forces crack down on protests

Aug. 30, 2011 at 9:20 PM

PALMA SORIANO, Cuba, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Cuban opposition activists say State Security agents used tear gas in a raid against dissidents and beat dissident women in Santiago province.

"The riot squad came into the house like it was a commando movie, because that's never been seen in Cuba," said Yulie Valverde, whose husband was detained with 26 other dissidents during the raid Sunday on a home in the town of Palma Soriano, The Miami Herald reported.

Sunday's raid was the latest in response to a series of unusually strong protests that have prompted violent police crackdowns by the communist government in Cuba. The latest reports come from dissidents and their relatives, the Herald said, since foreign journalists in Havana have reported nothing and the Cuban government has refused comment.

As 27 men gathered in a house in Palma Soriano to prepare to protest police abuses, security forces sprayed tear gas in the door and windows and arrested them, taking them away in a bus, witnesses said.

Jose Daniel Ferrer, a dissident who said he watched part of the raid from a distance so he could report on the event, said a fire truck was deployed during the raid, apparently to use water hoses for crowd control if needed.

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