Cuba has again denied government opponents permission to stage a peaceful march for civil liberties in the capital Havana and a few other provinces on grounds it was part of efforts to overthrow the government.
Protests rocked the communist-run country for two days in July, with the biggest anti-government demonstrations in decades resulting in hundreds of arrests, one death and calls for US intervention by some Cuban Americans.
Government critics, organised by a Facebook group called Archipelago, initially planned protests across the country for Nov. 20, but switched the date to Nov. 15 after authorities declared the 20th a ‘National Defence Day’ during which citizens practice preparedness for a US invasion.
The alternative date of the 15th, however, falls on the same day Cuba plans to reopen to tourism after nearly two years in which the vital industry was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Protests in Cuba have always been forbidden with few exceptions on grounds the United States was behind them, but the country’s new constitution, approved three years ago, opened a new space for “legitimate” protest.
Archipelago, which says it has some 20,000 members, many of whom live outside the country, said they planned to rally for civil liberties including the right to peaceful protest and an amnesty for imprisoned government opponents.
Well-known government opponents are among those who remain behind bars following the July 11-12 unrest, some facing long sentences.