Hunger strike in Cuba
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    US says 'dismayed' Cuba protest disrupted

    US says 'dismayed' Cuba protest disrupted
    Thu Mar 18, 2:54 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US State Department said Thursday it is
    "dismayed" that authorities in communist Cuba disrupted a demonstration
    by women relatives of political prisoners.

    President Barack Obama's administration, which has tried to engage
    diplomatically with Havana, is "dismayed that a peaceful march was
    disrupted by the Cuban government authorities, department spokesman
    Gordon Duguid said.

    The authorities, he said, "interfered with the right of Cuban citizens
    to peacefully assemble and express their support for their family
    members who are prisoners of conscience."

    Hundreds of government supporters heckled members of the "Ladies in
    White" rights group as they silently marched in protest Thursday through
    the streets of downtown Havana. removed some 30 women during a
    march on Wednesday.

    "We are concerned about the welfare of the" women, Duguid said.

    The women — wives and mothers of political prisoners — have been
    marking the seventh year of the arrest of 75 opponents of the regime
    headed by President .

    The group has staged marches every day this week to observe the
    anniversary of the 2003 crackdown, carried out under then-president
    . Fifty-three of those are still behind bars.

    Those marching included the mother of , who died in a
    hunger strike February 23.

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