HAVANA: Thousands of Cubans took portion successful uncommon protests connected Sunday (Jul 11) against the communist government, chanting "Down with the dictatorship" arsenic President Miguel Diaz-Canel called connected his supporters to face the demonstrators.
The anti-government rallies started spontaneously successful respective cities arsenic the state endures its worst economical situation successful 30 years, with chronic shortages of energy and food.
Several 100 protesters marched done the superior Havana chanting, "We privation liberty", with a dense subject and constabulary beingness deployed aft demonstrators massed extracurricular the Capitol building.
Police utilized teardrop state to disperse crowds, and astatine slightest 10 radical were arrested, portion officers utilized integrative pipes to bushed protesters, AFP journalists witnessed.
Several 1000 protesters - mainly young radical - also took to the streets of San Antonio de los Banos, a municipality 30km southwest of Havana.
Security forces arrived soon aft the protests began, and Diaz-Canel aboriginal visited the municipality himself surrounded by enactment activists arsenic residents heckled him, according to videos posted online.
The president lashed retired successful a tv address, saying: "The bid to combat has been fixed - into the street, revolutionaries!"
"We telephone connected each revolutionaries of the country, each communists, to spell retired successful the streets wherever these provocations occur... and to look them successful a decisive, steadfast and courageous way."
Government supporters held immoderate counter-demonstrations successful Havana.
Social media showed respective anti-government protests astir the country, and mobile net - introduced successful Cuba since 2018 - was mostly chopped disconnected connected Sunday afternoon.
The United States reacted swiftly to the day's events.
"We are profoundly acrophobic by 'calls to combat' successful Cuba," tweeted Julie Chung, the apical US diplomat for Latin America. "We basal by the Cuban people's close for peaceful assembly. We telephone for calm and condemn immoderate violence."
BOILING PUBLIC ANGER
One section successful San Antonio de los Banos, connected information of anonymity, told AFP that she participated successful the objection arsenic she was exasperated by "the concern with energy and food".
Public choler has been driven by agelong nutrient lines, worsening powerfulness shortages for respective hours a time and a captious shortage of medicines since the commencement of the COVID-19 epidemic, with Cuba nether US sanctions.
Cuba is experiencing its toughest signifier yet of the coronavirus epidemic, and connected Sunday reported a caller regular grounds of infections and deaths.
"The vigor concern seems to person produced immoderate reaction," Diaz-Canel told reporters successful San Antonio de los Banos, blaming US sanctions imposed by Donald Trump and near unchanged by President Joe Biden.
He accused "a Cuban-American mafia" of whipping up the protests connected societal media.
"People person travel to explicit their dissatisfaction with the concern they are surviving in," helium acknowledged.
Diaz-Canel has been president since 2018, succeeding Raul Castro, who served arsenic person aft his member Fidel Castro.
The lone authorised gatherings successful Cuba are usually Communist Party events.
The state of 11.2 cardinal radical was near comparatively unscathed successful the archetypal months of the COVID-19 outbreak but has seen a caller hike successful infections, with a caller grounds of 6,923 regular cases reported Sunday and 47 deaths for a full of 1,537.
"These are alarming numbers which are expanding daily," said Francisco Duran, caput of epidemiology successful the wellness ministry.
Under hashtags specified arsenic #SOSCuba, calls for assistance person multiplied connected societal media, with citizens and euphony stars alike urging the authorities to marque it imaginable for much-needed overseas donations to participate the country.
An absorption radical connected Saturday called for the instauration of a "humanitarian corridor", an inaugural the authorities rejected by saying Cuba was not a struggle zone.
Ernesto Soberon, a overseas affairs official, denounced a "campaign" helium said sought to "portray an representation of full chaos successful the state which does not correspond to the situation".