Brussels, Belgium: The European Union on Thursday called on Cuba to release people arrested “arbitrarily” during unprecedented protests against the government earlier this month.
“We are very concerned about the repression of these protests, as well as for the arrest of protesters and journalists, especially after the demonstrations held on 11 July across the country,” the 27-nation bloc said in a statement.
“We urge (the Cuban government) to release all arbitrarily detained protesters, to listen to the voices of its citizens, and to engage in an inclusive dialogue on their grievances.”
On July 11 and 12, thousands of Cubans took to the streets, shouting “Freedom,” “Down with the dictatorship” and “We’re hungry” in the biggest protests since the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959.
Hundreds of people were arrested and many face charges of contempt, public disorder, vandalism, and propagation of the coronavirus epidemic for allegedly marching without face masks.
Independent observers and activists have published lists of those arrested with at least 600 names on them.
About 60 Cubans have been prosecuted so far for participating in the demonstrations, a senior official said Saturday.