Ladies in White attacked by Castro government thugs (UPDATE)

AFP -- Members of the Human Rights organization Ladies in White, are surrounded by pro-government demonstrators in Cuba

Yesterday, the Ladies in White were attacked by Castro government thugs as they peacefully marched in Havana as they do every Sunday.

HAVANA — The Cuban government released a political prisoner even as some 200 pro-government activists harassed the wives of other jailed dissidents at a protest march.

“Get out, get out, you pack of worms,” were among insults pro-government activists chanted at the Ladies in White group pushing for the release of their loved ones by the only one-party communist regime in the Americas.

The Ladies, winners of the 2005 Sakharov rights prize from the European Parliament, were marching in white as they do most Sundays when they were targeted by counter-demonstrators.

The pro-government crowd also chanted at the second secretary at the US Interests Section, Lowell Dale Lawton, who was following the Ladies’ protest at a distance.

“Come pick up your rats!” the Cuban government supporters chanted at the US diplomat.

“They were out marching … and now that mob has them surrounded,” said Angel Moya, a former political prisoner freed just 10 days ago.

One question that no news agency is asking — and no “Cuba Expert” would ever dare pose — is how strong can the Castro regime be if it cannot tolerate a group of 20 women peacefully marching on a Sunday? Why is no journalist reporting on the obvious weakness and desperation exhibited by a dictatorship that sends 10 thugs for each woman to shout insults and obscenities and violently confront them? If history is any indication, they will never ask that question until the Castro regime is gone.

Here are a couple of more pictures from Reuters documenting the repression carried out by Castro led thugs that took place yesterday (H/T Penúltimos Días):

CUBA-PRISONERS/

CUBA-PRISONERS/

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More from the Associated Press from last night:

Cuba stepped up its campaign against the island’s small dissident community on Sunday, with pro-government demonstrators screaming insults at the “Ladies in White” opposition group a day after state-television aired a program denouncing them as agents of Washington.

About 100 pro-government demonstrators surrounded the Ladies as they marched in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, shouting slogans like “Down with the Worms!” and “This Street Belongs to Fidel!” as well as some sexually offensive slogans.

The Ladies, mostly middle-aged wives and mothers of political prisoners jailed in a 2003 sweep against intellectuals and opposition figures, wore sweat shirts bearing the image of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a political prisoner who died last year after an 83-day hunger strike.

They stood in the middle of the street and refused to move, until security agents moved in and loaded them onto government buses. It was not clear where they were taken, though in the past the dissidents are usually brought back to their homes.

The ugliness, known as an “Act of Repudiation,” is an oft-repeated spectacle in Cuba. The government contends the screaming crowd turns out spontaneously to denounce the opposition, though little is done to conceal coordination with state security agents who are also on the scene.

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