Cuba’s dictatorial government is reportedly cracking down on massive, pro-democracy demonstrations, with dissidents and allies now saying that Cuban police are “arresting, beating, and killing” protesters.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Cuban police are “beefing up” patrols, allegedly at the behest of Cuba’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has made clear he will respond to the pro-democracy movement with force. An internet blackout, however, has descended on the country, making stories of Cuban officials’ response to the protests difficult to confirm, the AP noted.
“Authorities appeared determined to put a stop to the demonstrations. More than a dozen protesters were detained, including a leading Cuban dissident who was arrested trying to attend a march in the city of Santiago, 559 miles (900 kilometers) east. The demonstrators disrupted traffic in the capital for several hours until some threw rocks and police moved in and broke them up,” the AP reported. “Internet service was spotty, possibly indicating an effort to prevent protesters from communicating with each other.”
“On Monday, Cuban authorities were blocking Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Telegram said Alp Toker, director of Netblocks, a London-based internet monitoring firm,” according to the AP.
“We’ve seen how the campaign against Cuba was growing on social media in the past few weeks,″ Díaz-Canel said late Monday, defending the government’s decision to throttle Internet service. “That’s the way it’s done: Try to create inconformity, dissatisfaction by manipulating emotions and feelings.”