Thousands join rare anti – government protests in Cuba Coronavirus pandemic news


Demonstrations arrive as Cuba experiences the hardest phase of the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands have taken to the streets in rare anti – government protests in Cuba, where the the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis are causing frustrations, with some protesters singing “with the dictatorship” and “we want freedom.”

In a protest Sunday in San Antonio de los Banos, a city of about 50,000 people in southwestern Havana, mostly young people shouted insults at President Miguel Diaz-Canel, according to videos posted online. “We’re not afraid,” some said.

“I just walked around town looking to buy food and there were a lot of people, some with signs, protesting,” Claris Ramirez, a local resident, told Reuters news agency by phone.

“They are protesting against the blackouts, because there is no medicine,” he added.

Thousands of people also gathered in central Havana and, along parts of the coast, drove amid a strong police presence, while protests later took place in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba.

Police drive close to people during protests against and in support of the Cuban government in Havana on July 11 [Stringer/Reuters]

The demonstrations took place while Cuba was going through the hardest phase of the coronavirus crisis and on the same day reported a new daily record of infections and deaths.

Social anger has been fueled by long food lines and critical drug shortages since the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, with Cuba under US sanctions.

Diaz-Canel on Sunday afternoon addressed the nation, accusing the US of being responsible for the riots. He warned that additional “provocations” would not be tolerated.

Havana journalist Ed Augustin said there was a strong police presence in the capital. He said that Díaz-Canel in his speech in the country asked the people who supported the Cuban revolution to come out to defend it.

“These are the biggest protests in Cuba for decades,” Augustin told Al Jazeera.

Cuba was relatively unharmed during the first months of the coronavirus outbreak, but has experienced a recent increase in infections.

A new record of 6,923 daily cases was reported on Sunday, along with an additional 47 deaths. “These are alarming figures that are rising daily,” said Francisco Duran, head of epidemiology at the health ministry.

The country has been developing five of its own COVID-19 vaccines and last month he said that one of them, named Abdalla, he showed 92% efficiency.

They have been Cuban doctors and nurses walking around the capital in an effort to encourage beatings, expect inoculations to help curb the growing number of infections.

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