Anti-government protesters in Cuba sentenced to 30 years in prison

“Citizens are accused of committing and provoking serious riots and acts of vandalism in order to destabilize public order, collective security and civil peace,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.

Last July, hundreds of Cubans across the country defied the government and took to the streets against chronic shortages and lack of basic freedoms.

Despite widespread calls for amnesty after the protests, the Cuban government cracked down hard on the demonstrators, sentencing them to lengthy prison terms.

Shortly after the protests began, police and SWAT went door-to-door looking for participants.

Since then, Cuban courts have faced hundreds of protesters in mass trials that have been criticized by international observers for their lack of transparency and due process.

“They threw stones and bottles at various officials, law enforcement officers, National Revolutionary Police facilities, patrol cars, overturned motorcycles and cars … caused bodily harm to other people and major property damage,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.

They dared to protest last July.  Now these Cubans face years in prison

Protests from July 11 to 12 quickly spread across the island as Cubans openly challenged the communist government, which blames U.S. sanctions for Cuba’s economic woes in a move not seen since the 1959 revolution.

Cubans chanted “freedom” at last year’s protests, showing their fury at shortages of food, medicine and electricity as Covid-19 cases skyrocketed in the country.

In Havana, a CNN team witnessed police forcibly arrest demonstrators and throw them into vans. Violent clashes also took place, during which protesters overturned a police car and threw stones at police officers.

These protests, and now the lawsuits, mark for many Cubans before and after periods in the island’s history. Some family members of the protesters say that despite massive trials and harsh sentences, anti-government discontent will continue to simmer.

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