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    Cuban protesters punched, dragged

    Posted on Thursday, 03.18.10
    Cuban protesters punched, dragged
    For the second straight day, but in a much harsher manner, Cuban
    security agents broke up a protest march by female relatives of jailed

    Cuban security forces and pro-government civilians violently broke up
    another protest march Wednesday by — female relatives
    of political prisoners — and dragged them away in buses.

    Ladies in White members in Havana said they were punched, pinched,
    scratched and had their hair pulled by the security agents and
    civilians, who also made rude gestures and swore at them.

    Photos of the incident showed two of the women being dragged by their
    hands and another in a woman's headlock as the protesters
    resisted boarding the buses.

    Two of the women, including the mother of Orlando Tamayo, a
    political who died last month after a lengthy hunger strike,
    went to a to get treatment and to ask that doctors certify
    their bruises.

    “There's been a lot of today,'' a weary-sounding Alejandrina
    García told El Nuevo Herald by phone from Havana. She is the wife of
    Diosdado González Marrero, who is serving a 20-year sentence.

    It was the second day in a row that government forces harassed the
    women, who are staging a weeklong series of street marches and other
    events to mark the anniversary of the 2003 jailing of 75 dissidents.
    Tuesday's incident involved only verbal aggressions.

    Wednesday's crackdown was clearly harsher, however, with García saying
    she was shocked by the “very immodest and very violent manner'' in
    which the women were treated by about 100 uniformed and plainclothes
    police and Interior Ministry agents, many of them female, and an
    estimated 200 civilians.

    Security officials hit several of the women with “technical blows,''
    said Ladies in White member Berta Soler, using Cuban jargon for
    karate-like blows that are supposed to leave no bruises.

    “Some of us were dragged, punched into the buses'' by the security
    agents, Soler added via telephone, while the civilians yanked at their
    hair, pinched their arms and backs and shouted pro-government slogans
    and epithets.

    Laura Pollán, a spokesperson for the women's group, went to the hospital
    for a possibly fractured finger, Soler said. , the
    mother of Zapata Tamayo, suffered from anxiety and went to have her
    blood pressure checked.

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