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Reuters March 19, 2011

Supporters of 's communist government harassed Cuban dissidents on
Friday as they tried to mark the anniversary of a 2003 crackdown that
sent 75 government opponents to for long sentences.

About 100 people surrounded the home of Laura Pollan, head of the Ladies
in White group, shouting “this street belongs to Fidel
(Castro)” and calling the dissidents “worms.”

The harassment prevented the from marching in the
streets, as they have on March 18 in years past to remember the
crackdown, which is known as Havana's “Black Spring.”

A leader of the women's group, Bertha Soler, told Reuters there were
about three dozen people in the house, including several recently
released .

“The government is impotent. They don't know how to stop peaceful women
and because of that they bring these mobs to attack us with words,” she
said by telephone.

The Black Spring arrests arose from the government's belief that
dissidents are mercenaries working for the .

The crackdown, which resulted in jail sentences of up to 28 years for
the accused, prompted criticism of Cuba's and damaged its
international relations.

In a deal brokered by the Catholic , President agreed
last July to free the 52 prisoners who remained in jail from the crackdown.

All but two have been released and most sent to in Spain, which
agreed to take them because Cuba wanted them out of the country.


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