14ymedio, Havana, December 20, 2018 — This Thursday afternoon dozens of people circled a bus that was traveling on Calle Monte in Havana to demand that the doors be opened and that it transport those who were waiting at the stop. The passengers positioned themselves in front and on the sides of the bus to keep it from continuing its route and, a few minutes later, the police intervened to break up the protest.
The events occurred before it started to rain in the city, affected by the arrival of a cold front that has brought abundant rain and the danger of coastal floods to the west of the country. The passengers demanded to be transported toward their destination after the bus driver did not stop at the bus stop.
When the downpour started the people ran to the covered sidewalk to keep from getting wet and the driver took advantage of that to depart, leaving the passengers at the mercy of the rain.
An hour after the incident several police cars were continuing to circle around the area to avoid a second protest.
In the last few weeks the public transportation situation in the Cuban capital has gotten worse after the Government implemented on December 7 a series of measures to regulate private taxis. The self-employed transport workers responded to the new regulations with a strike that paralyzed the country’s biggest city for 48 hours.
Although in recent days some of these private vehicles have started circulating again, transportation is still very affected because hundreds of drivers refuse to take up the job again under the current circumstances.
The drivers are demanding freedom of movement, right to work all over the country, access to a wholesale market, the ability to import parts, and permission to have independent unions, among other demands.
Translated by: Sheilagh Carey
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