Written by By Sigrid Schwartz, CNN
Embattled Cuban dissidents staged a large protest outside their homes Monday, even as the Cuban government ordered them to remove their flags and other signs.
Separately, the head of Cuba’s intelligence agency, who oversees its prosecutors, was suspended following a public outcry.
Together, the moves signal that Cuba is cracking down hard on any sign of dissent.
Cuban dissidents assemble during a protest outside their homes in Havana on September 4, 2020. Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images
On Monday, small groups of protesters, many of them veiled in black robes or face masks, gathered in front of the homes of Cuban dissidents at the direction of the Interior Ministry, one of the groups said.
“I’m worried to be arrested any day,” one man participating in the protests, known as colectivos, told the state-run El Pais.
Small groups of protesters gathered in front of the homes of Cuban dissidents on September 4, 2020. Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images
Other activists accused authorities of trying to “eradicate freedom of association” and accused government officials of “trying to justify, by subtle means, a violation of the right to assembly.”
At least one protest was supported by Cuban authorities, according to Sombra Altar, a leader of the Cuban Writers and Artists Association who is known as Yeni Alejandra.
A group of Cuban dissidents gather outside their homes in Havana on September 4, 2020. Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images
Altar accused the Cuban government of trying to “shut us up,” according to local media.
In a written statement, the Cuban interior ministry called the small protests “colectivos” organized by “foreign entities.”
On Tuesday, government leaders ordered their members of the Council of State to inspect all demonstrations in an effort to ensure they take place “within the framework of constitutional law,” according to the Cuban Council of State’s website.