14ymedio, Havana, 25 January 2016 — Cuban activists have again experienced a repressive Sunday with the arrest of more than a hundred opponents throughout the island. The leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), Jose Daniel Ferrer, was violently arrested in Santiago Cuba, according to sources in his organization.
About 130 members of the UNPACU and the Ladies in White movement were arrested in the eastern province while trying to reach the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre. Police and special forces intercepted them at various points along the busy road to the church, said the national coordinator of the organization, Yriade Hernández Aguilera.
The testimony of Santiago activists said that the UNPACU leader’s arrest occurred at 7:40 am Pajuil, a place of the road to El Cobre where police often set uptheir checkpoint. Opponents say they were surrounded by more than 35 troops, which threw him down and after he was immobilized on the ground they kicked him.
Ferrer and the other members of the organization arrested in the morning were released shortly afterwards.
In Havana, 70 people, including activists and Ladies in White, made it to the parish of Santa Rita in the neighborhood of Miramar. Angel Moya, a former prisoner of the Black Spring, denounced the previous arrest of 12 women in the organization, to prevent them from reaching the site.
In its summary for last year, the independent Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) reported that “political repression increased steadily throughout 2015 from 178 cases in January to figures in the vicinity of 1000 arrests by year’s end.”