Cuba dissidents denounce wave of detentions

  • Associated Press
  • December 10, 2012 - 4:17 PM

HAVANA - Cuban dissidents accused authorities Monday of a wave of arrests to prevent them from gathering to mark International Human Rights Day.

More than 100 government opponents were briefly detained and promptly sent back to their homes, human rights monitor Elizardo Sanchez said.

"The saving grace is that (the arrests) are of short duration," said Sanchez, who heads the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

A leader of the group known as the Ladies in White said they were rounded up Sunday when they held their weekly protest march outside a Havana church.

"They told us we were being provocative," Alejandrina Garcia said by phone.

Dissidents have no legal recognition in Cuba, which accuses its small community of vocal opponents of being traitors and "counterrevolutionaries" who accept foreign money to undermine the government.

The U.S. State Department criticized what it called arbitrary detentions aimed at silencing criticism on the island.

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