A crowd gathered. Exceeded by the economic crisis, thousands of Cubans demonstrated on Sunday July 11 across the country. Anti-government protests started spontaneously in the morning, an extremely rare event in this country ruled by the Communist Party (CCP, single), where the only gatherings allowed are usually those of the party.
The President Miguel Diaz-Canel, for his part, called his supporters to respond in the street. “The order to fight has been given, in the street the revolutionaries!”, launched, in a televised address, the president, who accused “the Cuban-American mafia” to be behind this uprising. “We call on all the revolutionaries of the country, all the Communists, to go out into the streets where these provocations are going to occur, now and in the coming days. And to face them in a decisive, firm and courageous way.”
“Down with the dictatorship!”, “Let them go!”, cried in particular several thousand demonstrators in San Antonio de los Baños, a small town about thirty kilometers from Havana. In the capital, clashes took place between demonstrators and the police, who used tear gas.
At least ten people were arrested and several police officers used plastic pipes to beat protesters, while the city was placed under a large military and police deployment, according to AFP journalists. L‘Mobile internet was also cut off in much of the country on Sunday afternoon.
The Cuban government said it was ready on Sunday to defend the revolution “no matter the cost”, in the face of historic demonstrations against “dictatorship”, scrutinized by Washington which warned Havana against any use of violence. “The United States supports freedom of expression and assembly in Cuba, and would strongly condemn any act of violence or aimed at targeting peaceful protesters who exercise their universal rights,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Twitter on Sunday.