Up to 150 arrested in Cuba on global Human Rights Day

Havana, Dec 11 (EFE).- As many as 150 dissidents were arrested while trying to mark U.N. International Human Rights Day, the opposition Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission said Wednesday.

"As a preliminary figure, (there were) between 100 and 150 people arrested, not counting other forms of harassment or acts of vandalism. There was a lot of police violence all across the country," commission spokesman Elizardo Sanchez told Efe by telephone.

He said that the repression was particularly apparent in the provinces of Havana, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara and Pinar del Rio, and he added that the group continues "compiling data" and verifying the names of those arrested on Tuesday.

Sanchez said that authorities cut all the cellphone and landline telephone connections of the dissidents and many remained out of contact, thus making it difficult to get definitive information about incidents of repression.

International Human Rights Day in Cuba was marked by temporary arrests and acts of harassment against dissidents, mainly against the Ladies in White.

That group complained of more than 130 arrests of its members around the country while in Havana they experienced a harsh act of repression when they tried to gather at a central point to stage a march to commemorate the date.

Other groups were also the targets of government harassment, including the opposition Patriotic Union of Cuba, whose leader, former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer, reported that there had been dozens of temporary arrests in the eastern provinces.

Cuba's Communist government labels most dissidents as "counterrevolutionaries" and mercenaries in the service of the United States.