Police stop unauthorized gay rights march in Havana, Cuba – National

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Homosexual-rights activists organizing on social media held an unauthorized march Saturday down eight blocks of one among Havana’s important thoroughfares earlier than they had been stopped by police.


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The march was the second by a non-governmental group in Cuba in barely greater than a month. That’s extremely uncommon in a rustic the place the one authorized civil society teams are de-facto arms of the Communist authorities. Any form of unofficial march or demonstration has lengthy been met with a swift and overwhelming police response.

On April 7, greater than 400 animal-lovers acquired an official allow and peacefully marched greater than a mile by way of Havana, shouting slogans and waving indicators calling for an finish to animal cruelty.

Saturday afternoon’s gay-rights march acquired no such allow however police and plainclothes state-security brokers allowed it to proceed from a gathering level in Havana’s Central Park, alongside the Prado boulevard till it reached the Malecon, the capital’s well-known seaside promenade.

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A handful of marchers had been arrested after they tried to push by way of a large police presence and proceed onto the Malecon.

“It was a whole success as a result of we received so many individuals collectively regardless of all of the expectations of presidency interference,” stated Raul Soublett, a 26-year-old homosexual rights activist. “It’s historic.”

The march was organized largely utilizing Cuba’s new cellular web, with gay-rights activists and teams of buddies calling for a march over Fb and WhatsApp after the principle government-run homosexual rights group, the Heart for Intercourse Schooling, cancelled a Saturday march. The federal government group recognized its Spanish acronym CENESEX stated it was cancelling its annual Conga Towards Homophobia and Transphobia as a result of unnamed teams had been making an attempt “to distort the fact of Cuba and use our Conga to discredit, divide and substitute the true which means of the occasion.”


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In response, activists known as for the Saturday gathering at four p.m. in Havana’s Central Park, a plaza within the coronary heart of the capital’s historic middle.

Some gay-rights activists stated on-line that police had tried to stop them from leaving their houses Saturday with threats of unspecified repercussions. However greater than 100 assembled and marched, chanting “It might be achieved!” and “Numerous Cuba!” and waving rainbow flags.

“It’s because we don’t wish to lose our rights to public house,” stated Lidia Romero, 49, who works in a non-public design retailer.

“We’re not right here in opposition to anyone,” Soublett stated.

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Cuba repressed homosexuals within the many years after its 1959 revolution, sending many to forced-labour camps, however the authorities has since barred anti-gay discrimination and CENESEX, led by Mariela Castro, the daughter of Communist chief Raul Castro, has been internationally acknowledged for campaigning for homosexual rights.

Nonetheless, a CENESEX-endorsed push for homosexual marriage was faraway from a constitutional reform this 12 months after objections from many Cubans, together with the nation’s rising ranks of evangelicals.

CENESEX by no means clearly defined why it was cancelling the conga however stated tensions with the Trump administration had been an element.

The U.S. has lately tightened the embargo on Cuba as a part of a push to topple the allied Venezuelan authorities, and the Cuban authorities sometimes cracks down on inside dissent when it feels threatened.

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