Written by By Staff Writer
A group of Cuban activists and their families were barricaded at their home on the island Thursday, amid growing concern for the human rights situation after years of improvement for the communist country.
The seven people protesting in central Havana held signs calling for an end to violence, land expropriation and illegal house demolitions, according to a video of the protest posted on social media by a Cuban rights group.
It comes amid a government crackdown on political dissent that saw several activists arrested and faces of opponents blocked at home in recent weeks.
Thursday’s protest went ahead despite the risk of arrest. The long-established family and friends blockade of opponents’ homes on the island, is a government tactic designed to pressure dissidents into giving up their protests.
The detention of one prominent pro-democracy blogger, Yoani Sanchez, last month prompted widespread international condemnation of Cuba. Sanchez, whose blog CaN (http://www.ca-hoje.cu/) is one of the most widely read political news sites on the island, was detained on March 11 after the publication of a widely circulated Facebook post accusing Cuba’s Communist Party of staging an unsuccessful coup.
Pleading her innocence, Sanchez was freed five days later but on the condition that she does not criticize Cuba’s leadership. Sanchez has since launched an appeal for Cuban activists to stop being “too frightened” to speak out.