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Cuban government holds mass demonstration in Havana after protests By Reuters

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Cuban government holds mass demonstration in Havana after protests By Reuters
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© Reuters. People carry a poster with photographs of the late President of Cuba, Fidel Castro, the President of Cuba and the first secretary of the Communist Party, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and the former president and first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raúl Castro, during a rally i

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By Nelson Acosta

HAVANA (Reuters) – Raúl Castro was one of thousands who attended a government-organized rally in Havana on Saturday to denounce the U.S. trade embargo and reaffirm support for the Cuban revolution, a week after protests unprecedented shaking the communist country.

Government supporters gathered on the city’s waterfront before dawn to wave Cuban flags and photos of the late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl. The latter retired as leader of the Communist Party in April, but promised to continue fighting for the revolution as an “infantryman”.

The rally was a reaction to the https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/street-protests-break-out-cuba-2021-07-11 demonstrations that broke out across the country last Sunday amidst a Widespread commodity shortages, demands for political rights and the island nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

The government admitted https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/cuba-lifts-food-medicine-customs-restrictions-after-protests-2021-07-15 some shortcomings this week, but mostly blamed https : // www. .reuters.com / world / americas / cubas-president-blames-discontent-us-sanctions-2021-07-12 protests against US-funded “counterrevolutionaries” exploiting economic hardship caused by US sanctions.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, told the crowd that “the enemy of Cuba has once again set out to destroy the sacred unity and tranquility of the citizens.”

He said that it was no small thing to call a rally, since the country saw a growing number of COVID cases: “We call them to denounce once again the blockade, aggression and terror.”

Authorities said similar rallies were held across the country.

“This revolution will continue for a long time,” said Margaritza Arteaga, a state social worker who attended the rally in Havana.

The workers had been summoned by neighborhood committees, known as Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, she said, and a state bus picked her up at 4 a.m.

Shortly before the demonstration officially began in Havana, authorities removed a man from the crowd shouting anti-government slogans that included “freedom.”

The number of detainees during or after the protests has grown as new reports emerge amid irregular cuts https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-unrest-idAFKBN2EJ218 on the internet and messaging apps on the island where the state has a telecommunications monopoly.

The latest tally by the exile human rights group Cubalex put the detainees at 450, although some have since been released. Activists have accused the authorities of repression, as some videos have appeared on social media of police beating protesters.

The government has not yet released official figures on those detained, although it has said it has arrested those suspected of instigating unpatriotic riots or carrying out vandalism. State television has broadcast images of people looting Cuba’s controversial dollar stores and overturning empty police cars.

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