On Human Rights Day: Dozens of Dissidents Arrested in Cuba

Thursday, December 11, 2014
Editor's Note: These 32 arrests were in Havana alone. Nearly 70 members of the Ladies in White were arrested throughout Cuba.

From AFP:

Cuba police arrest 32 during rights protest

Police in Havana arrested at least 32 people Wednesday at a demonstration marking Human Rights Day, AFP reporters on the scene observed.

Among those detained were 16 members of the Ladies in White opposition group made up of the wives and mothers of jailed dissidents.

"Long live human rights! Long live freedom!" the protesters shouted as they were rounded up beginning at around 11 am (1600 GMT) near the historic Habana Libre Hotel in the capital city's Vedado business district.

The UN General Assembly in 1950 declared December 10 to be "Human Rights Day," as a platform to rally for a common standard of humane treatment for all people.

The Havana protesters were met by dozens of pro-government activists who shouted "Long live Fidel!" and "Long live Raul!" in support of President Raul Castro and his revolutionary icon brother Fidel -- his immediate predecessor as the communist island's leader.

It has become customary for Cuban dissidents arrested in periodic sweeps to be released a few hours after being detained.

The Ladies in White, founded in 2003, march with the government's permission every Sunday in the Cuban capital. The group is banned but tolerated by Cuban authorities.

The group in 2005 was awarded the European parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize honoring groups or individuals who have dedicated their lives to defending freedom of thought and human rights.