Ladies in White

The regime again prevents the Ladies in White from attending mass at
Santa Rita
DDC | La Habana | 17 Mayo 2016 – 10:47 am.

This Sunday the regime again prevented the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in
White) from making their way from their headquarters in Lawton to
Miramar to attend mass at Havana’s Santa Rita Church and participate in
the campaign #TodosMarchamos, which demands amnesty for political
prisoners, reported Aliuska Gómez, a member of the group’s board, to
DIARIO DE CUBA.

According to Gómez, 12 women and 6 activists were arrested when leaving
the headquarters of the women’s organization. Only 3 women and 6 men
were able to reach Santa Rita, later holding their regular meeting at
Gandhi Park. They were later arrested when they initiated the
#TodosMarchamos march.

“They didn´t let us go to mass today either, just as on the last several
Sundays,” Gómez said. “When we left the headquarters everything was
completely taken over by State Security and Police.”

“They attacked the Damas de Blanco and other human rights. We women were
taken to Tarara on a bus, in which many were beaten and humiliated by
uniformed policemen,” said Gómez.

She indicated that the forces around the group’s headquarters could be
seen as of Friday afternoon, when the Lady in White Lázara Acosta was
arrested at the building’s door. “We went out to defend her, and they
also took Berta (Soler) away,” explained Gómez, a leader of the group.

Soler was released shortly thereafter. Acosta was held until Saturday.

Several women had been “besieged” in their homes since Thursday, Aliuska
Gómez reported.

On Sunday morning, “they had buses, patrol cars and ambulances around
the headquarters,” plus the mobs they have “to harass and offend us,”
she said.

In an interview with DIARIO DE CUBA this week Berta Soler explained that
the regime has ratcheted up its violence in an attempt to “decapitate”
the Ladies in White and dismantle #TodosMarchamos.

“If they won’t let us get to Santa Rita Church, wherever we might be, we
will exercise our freedom to demand that the Cuban government free its
political prisoners,” Soler said.

The leader of the Ladies in White also cited the case of the movement’s
representative in Holguín: Rosa Escalona.

Escalona’s husband and son suffered a savage attack, which landed them
in the hospital, with seriously injuries. The group was stripped of its
headquarters in that city.

The Government has decided to “drive the Ladies in White out of Gandhi
Park, off 5th and 3rd avenues, and out of the Church of Santa Rita, and
they’re following through on it,” Soler insisted.

According to the opposition, when they are arrested, especially in
recent times, State Security forces speak of eradicating the movement as
if it were already a fact. She noted, however, that “nobody’s going to
break up this group.”

“If we’re not on 5th Avenue it is because we are locked up, because we
are going to exercise our freedom, wherever we might be,” she said.

On Sunday activists on the social networks reported the participation of
a dozen dissidents from Camaguey in #TodosMarchamos.

Images posted on Twitter showed the activists with a poster reading “The
Castros, responsible for breaking up a Cuban family.”

The high-profile arrest of Mario Félix Lleonart and his wife.

Baptist minister Mario Félix Lleonart, meanwhile, reported the very
conspicuous arrest of his wife Yoaxis Marcheco Suárez and activist
Yoandy Izquierdo Toledo this weekend on the Havana-Villa Clara highway.

According to Lleonart, involved in the arrest were special troops (black
berets) and police officers under the orders of State Security.

Izquierdo Toledo was sent to Havana after having a folder of documents
seized from him, the minister said in an email sent to DIARIO DE CUBA.
He added that he and his wife were taken to the provincial headquarters
of the Special Brigade in the city of Santa Clara, where agents
thoroughly searched their phones.

Lleonart, a Baptist pastor in the town of Taguayabon, is regularly
arrested by the authorities.

Source: The regime again prevents the Ladies in White from attending
mass at Santa Rita | Diario de Cuba –
www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1463478477_22427.html

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