14ymedio, Havana, 26 November 2020 – The police broke into the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement (MSI) in Old Havana on Thursday night and arrested the 14 activists who were inside the building, as confirmed to 14ymedio by neighbors and relatives of the detainees. Several police patrols and ambulances participated in the operation.
“I passed near the place a little before everything happened and I saw several police patrols, ambulances and a large group of people who seemed to be from State Security a few blocks from there,” a taxi driver who was transporting passengers through the area commented to this newspaper.
“When I returned down the same street, the neighbors were saying that they had taken all the strikers who were in the house,” but they still did not allow them near the place.
The agents’ raid on the house coincided with a cutting off of the services of Facebook and Instagram on the island, an internet outage that users associated with an attempt to prevent the images and reports of the arrest from being disseminated on social networks.
A tweet from MSI confirmed the information. “Agents of the dictatorship broke into our headquarters, savagely beat our compañeros, took them away and we do not know their whereabouts. We fear for their physical integrity,” the brief message reported.
The independent journalist Maykel González Vivero, director of the Tremenda Nota site, reported from near the house. “I arrived at the scene a few minutes after the forced eviction of the activists.” The reporter said that “the door was violently broken” and the whole area was under a heavy police operation.
“They were dragged away and outside the house an act of repudiation was already prepared with people shouting official slogans,” a neighbor explained to González Vivero.
A few hours before the agents carried their forced entry, two men and a woman dressed in protective suits, gloves and glasses had arrived at the headquarters of the Movement, saying they were part of the health personnel linked to the supervision of suspected cases of Covid-19
They insisted that Carlos Manuel Álvarez accompany them with the justification that his PCR test should be repeated, but he refused, saying that he did not trust them and that he knows that they are receiving orders from State Security.
Zuleidis Cepero, the wife of Esteban Rodríguez, communicated live with ADN Cuba [starts at 3:20 on the linked video] and said that she did not get there in time but when she did, “I couldn’t see anyone, they took everyone away, the San Isidro headquarters was left empty… They did not respect that there were women inside, I am concerned about everyone’s health,” she added.
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