Police Arrest Actress Iris Ruiz and Blogger Lia Villares in Havana

Blogger Lia Villares (left) and actress Iris Ruiz (right). (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 December 2017 — Actress Iris Ruiz and blogger Lia Villares were arrested Wednesday around five in the afternoon at the independent gallery El Círculo. The arrest of both occurred during a police operation to prevent a performance scheduled as a part of the Endless Poetry Festival.

A presentation of the monologue Psychosis was planned, based on a script by the British playwright Sarah Kane and under the direction of the Cuban playwright Adonis Milán. The piece is a part of the concerts, talks and poetry readings taking place this year at the independent event.

From the early hours “the whole gallery was surrounded,” Milán told 14ymedio. The actress Iris Ruiz tried to access the premises but the police and State Security agents did not allow her to do so and Lia Villares went down to clarify the situation. “In the end they were arrested and taken away in a patrol car,” confirms the young director.

So far it is unknown to which police unit the two women have been taken. Members of State Security surround the gallery and are making threats against those who remain inside the building. “Come out, we did not beat them, but we are going to beat you,” the officers shouted, according to witnesses.

Hours earlier, Milán and Luis Trápaga, a plastic artist and curator of El Círculo, were “pushed” by police officers stationed in the vicinity while accessing the dwelling which houses the gallery, as reported to this newspaper.

#Cuba I just learned that the police arrested the actress Iris Ruiz and the blogger Lia Villares, in the basement of the independent art gallery El Círculo, in Vedado, where the monologue “Psychosis” was presented today as a part of the Endless Poetry Festival.

Earlier this week Milán was also prevented from entering the house in order to prevent his participation in the rehearsals prior to tonight’s performance.

In recent months, the gallery-house El Círculo has been subject to frequent police and State Security operations to prevent cultural activities ranging from film presentations to exhibitions and plays.

The most talked about incident occurred at the end of November when State Security blocked the premiere of the theater play The Enemies of the People, which only two people were able to attend. On that occasion, the police siege mounted around the gallery functioned as a method of pressure to intimidate the would-be audience members.


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