Cuban gay rights groups hold unauthorized march in Havana

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05/12/2019

Gay-rights activists organizing on social media held an unauthorized march Saturday down eight blocks of one of Havana’s main thoroughfares before they were stopped by police. The march was the second by a non-governmental organization in Cuba in slightly more than a month. That’s highly unusual in a country where the only legal civil society groups are de-facto arms of the Communist government. Any sort of unofficial march or demonstration has long been met with a swift and overwhelming police response. On April 7, more than 400 animal-lovers received an official permit and peacefully marched more than a mile through Havana, shouting slogans and waving signs calling for an end to animal cruelty. Saturday afternoon’s gay-rights march received no such permit but police and plainclothes state-security agents allowed it to proceed from a gathering point in Havana’s Central Park, along the Prado boulevard until it reached the Malecon, the capital’s famous seaside promenade.

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