Cuba protesters’ march postponed amid crackdown fears

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption There was no excuse for the caravan’s leaders to ignore the rules of travel, said Washington A planned march by anti-government protesters in the city of Holguin was…

Cuba protesters' march postponed amid crackdown fears

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption There was no excuse for the caravan’s leaders to ignore the rules of travel, said Washington

A planned march by anti-government protesters in the city of Holguin was scrapped at the last minute by the authorities in Cuba after gathering at least 30 people, the leader of the group said.

Humberto Pardo said the men and women had gathered at a municipal pier to set off on a journey to Havana that began in the central city of Artemisa.

“The government got involved to stop it. They ended up arresting people,” he said.

The country remains on alert over political activism under President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Last week, a university lecturer from Holguin, Christina de Padro, said she and her husband were prevented from boarding a flight to Havana to visit relatives.

Ms Padro, a professor in commerce at the University of the State of Marshall, said that state security agents who blocked the flight told her they had also prevented her from visiting “the Bibles of Jesus”.

They added that the pair could not leave the island, her husband told AFP news agency.

The Cuban government said the university lecturer had been a civil servant who had not been in his job for several months.

Activists and rights groups say anyone who has been officially fired for their beliefs is effectively banned from leaving the country.

A former political prisoner, however, did escape Cuba last week.

Julio Melendez lost his job at the British firm HSBC in 2013 after his arrest for subversion, after he spent eight years in detention for his political beliefs.

He claimed he was due to pay a hefty fine if he left, but asked HSBC, who offered to allow him to quit his job, instead.

He fled Cuba on a Cebreros 19-motorbike to Monterrey, Mexico last week.

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