HAVANA, Sept. 10 (UPI) — About 140 Cuban dissidents were arrested for several hours on Tuesday after they were traveling to celebrate the feast day of the island country’s patron saint.
The dissidents were going to attend a mass at the Lady of Caridad del Cobre Church when about 140 Patriotic Union of Cuba opposition group members were arrested along with about 20 woman affiliated with the Ladies in White dissident movement, Agencia EFE reported.
“Most detentions occured in the early hours of the morning some kilometers from the Sanctuary of El Cobre in a place known as La Tanqueta” in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, according to Jose Daniel Ferrer, a former political prisoner who is now the general opposition coordinator for the Patriotic Union of Cuba.
Ferrer said the dissidents were arrested to “prevent them from attending the traditional mass for the feast day of the patron saint of Cuba.” He said some were beaten as they were being detained.
Ferrer said he could confirm the majority of dissidents have been released. There were 768 temporary political arrests in Cuba in August, the highest this year, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.