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Cuban police arrest 100 to stop protests

Feb. 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM   |   Comments

HAVANA, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Protests in Cuba, meant to commemorate the deaths of five anti-Castro advocates, were curtailed with more than 100 arrests, activists said

The arrests of anti-government dissidents was seen as a crackdown to reduce public demonstrations of support marking the 2010 death of hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo, and of four South Florida men whose "Brothers to the Rescue" airplanes were shot down by Cuban military aircraft in 1996, the Miami-based El Nuevo Herald reported Monday.

Most were released after the weekend of protests.

Former political prisoner Angel Moya was among 10 government opponents who were detained, and whose locations remain unknown. Police also detained three prominent artists and government critics before a planned concert Saturday, and released them Sunday, the newspaper said.

Across Cuba, police attempted to prevent demonstrations by surrounding the homes of activists, dissidents said.

"There's a kind of state of paranoia" in the sweep of anyone the government considers a threat, said Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz.

The crackdown included the Havana group Ladies in White, a dissident faction rarely harassed by police. Twenty members were arrested and held for four hours, leader Bertha Soler said.

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