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Ladies in White: More than 90 women protesters detained in Cuba


Cuban opposition activist group “Ladies in White” says dozens of its members were detained during a protest march.

The women, who were freed after several hours, were marking the deaths of 37 people who drowned while fleeing the island 20 years ago.

The government has always denied the group’s allegation that the authorities deliberately sunk a tugboat in 1994.

For 10 years, Ladies in White members have defied a protest ban on the Communist island by marching every week, dressed in white.

Ladies in White members were detained during a protest march in Cuba

Ladies in White members were detained during a protest march in Cuba (photo AFP)

The group says its members were rounded-up by police on Sunday, as they tried to divert from their normal protest route in the capital, Havana.

More than 90 of them were bundled into buses off the city’s smart 5th Avenue as they headed towards the seafront, they say.

The women were planning to lay flowers in memory of the adults and children who died when the tugboat they had hijacked sank as it was pursued by the Cuban authorities in Caribbean waters.

Dissident groups allege the vessel was rammed and flooded with water cannon, but the government has always maintained the sinking was an accident.

The women are routinely detained and their protests broken up, but these days their march attracts minimal public interest.

However, the group’s members say their protests have produced results, with all 75 political prisoners they have campaigned for now free.

The Cuban authorities say the “Ladies in White” are in the pay of the US and form part of Washington’s “decades-old effort to undermine Cuba’s socialist revolution”.

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