Dozens Arrested In Massive Sting Operation By Cuba Targeting Protestors

( More than one hundred people were detained during the protests that erupted in Cuba last Sunday, among them protesters, activists and independent journalists. Tear gas was deployed to break up the anti-government uprising, and police used plastic pipes to beat protesters.

In a televised address, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel called on pro-government forces to fight back against the demonstrators, urging “revolutionaries” and “communists” to go out onto the streets and face off with the protesters “in a decisive, firm, and courageous way.”

By Monday the Capitol building in Havana was cordoned off and internet outages became frequent.

By Wednesday, independent media confirmed that at least five thousand people had been arrested since Sunday. That total included those known to be under investigation who have since disappeared.

Wednesday, the human rights group Cuban Prisoners Defenders presented the United Nations with a list of 162 people they suspect of being victims of forced disappearances. Families have reported them missing, but Cuban police have not confirmed their arrest.

It is common for Cuban police to detain individuals they perceive to be opposed to the Communist regime for engaging in peaceful protests, practicing journalism, or having involvement with religious groups not under Party control.

Sunday’s protests drew thousands of people in nearly every major city across the entire island. Police responded by violently repressing the demonstrations — opening fire, publicly beating protestors, and using attack dogs to maul them.

Cuban independent news outlet 14 y Medio confirmed on Wednesday that over five thousand people were either imprisoned or under investigation – many of them pro-democracy advocates and journalists. However, with the regime’s internet shutdown, it was difficult to communicate across the island. So it is likely a number of those protesters remain unaccounted for, but their relatives have not been able to report them missing.

In addition to pro-democracy advocates and journalists, the Cuban regime is also targeting and detaining religious leaders – including an assault on a prominent Catholic priest who is a vocal opponent of the regime. Father Castor José Álvarez Devesa was publicly beaten in Camagüey before going missing for nearly 24 hours, only reemerging after human rights groups demanded he be released.