Security forces raided the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement dissident group to break up a hunger strike sit-in protest on Thursday, November 26. The intervention was conducted on the grounds of violations of hygiene protocols in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The sit-in and hunger strike were being held to demand the release of jailed rapper Denis Solis, who was jailed for contempt after a verbal altercation with a police officer. Police detained 14 people in the operation, 11 of whom were later released. Dissidents also reported that some of their members had been beaten by security forces.
Further protests are possible in Havana in the near term and may be similarly forcibly dispersed by security forces.
The San Isidro Movement was founded in 2018 and opposes alleged oppressive measures imposed by Cuba's communist government and aims to highlight curbs on civil liberties and other rights abuses in the country. The group is largely made up of artists, musicians, journalists, and academics. The Cuban government has claimed that the dissidents are pawns of the United States and other foreign governments attempting to destabilize the country.
Those in Havana are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the vicinity of any future protests, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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