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Activists Demand the Release of all Political Prisoners in Cuba:
By Cuban Democratic Directorate

Various Cubans wearing CAMBIO shirts imprisoned after carrying out a peaceful march in Villa Clara

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" with a group of humen rights activists during another public demostration in Placetas

Villa Clara. January 1st, 2008. In the first resistance action of the year, 18 pro democracy activists led by former political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez," carried out a courageous march in Santa Clara, the capital of Villa Clara province.

The demonstration, which took place in a residential area of the city, called for the release of political prisoners. Members of Cuba's Security forces and National Police arrested seven of the demonstrators, but not before some of the women protesters made a circle around Antúnez and threw themselves on the floor to try and prevent his arrest. "Antúnez was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and he was pepper sprayed in the face, but he kept on shouting 'Long Live Freedom!' " said Yesmielena Mena Zurbano, one of the participants in the protest, who added that some of the women were also pepper sprayed.

The march began at 1 pm at the home of pro democracy leader Idania Llanes Contreras, located at Prolongación de Martha Abreu, #93C between B and C in the Virginia neighborhood. From the onset, the activists shouted "Freedom for Political Prisoners!" and "Long Live Human Rights." They also wore t-shirts, donated by the Placetas municipality in exile, which read "Cambio" or "Change", and displayed a photograph of political prisoner Omar Pernet Hernández. Three police cars, two belonging to the National Police and one to State Security, surrounded the group in order to break up the demonstration.

Those arrested were Idania Llanes Contreras, Yunieski García López, Blas Fortún Martínez, Alejandro Gabriel Martínez Martínez, Luis Bencomo and Alexis Wong. State Security forces have threatened to arrest another of the participants, pro democracy activist Yordis Tápanes García. They are currently being held at the 5th National Police Unit in the city of Santa Clara.

Antúnez, who was also arrested during the demonstration, was released at 6 pm today and taken by authorities to the city of Placetas, from where he was able to express the following to the Cuban Democratic Directorate: “ We shouted Freedom, Freedom while I was being handcuffed. I remembered Biscet and Martin Luther King, and I sat on the floor as an action of civic resistance. We created a human chain on the floor, Idania was on one side, and Isabel on the other. The police did not know what to do. A multitude of people who watched us in silence did not agree with the authorities when asked to oppress us. A State Security official wanted to destroy our Cuban flag. These people only support Castroism, they do not have patriotism or ideologies of their own. We asked him “what kind of Cuban would want to destroy their flag?” When they forced me into the police car all the activists wanted to come with me, they wanted the police to take us all together. They shouted “Long live human rights, long live freedom!”


Press Release no. 1/2008

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Janisset Rivero


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Directorio Democrático Cubano Cuban Democratic Directorate


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