HAVANA TIMES, Mar 16 — Cuban police responded to a request from the Catholic Church on Thursday night and dislodged a group of 13 protesters from the Nuestra Señora de la Caridad church in Centro Habana.
According to the church, “the 13 dissidents were invited to leave the temple and did not offer resistance,” reported dpa.
The protesters belong to the small illegal “Partido Republicano de Cuba” (Cuban Republican Party) and had insisted in a list of political demands.
These included “freedom for political prisoners, an end to the persecution of opponents of the regime, and increased wages and pensions for retirees in accordance with the prevailing cost of living.”
They had hoped their petition would be heard by Pope Benedict XVI, but the Cuban Catholic Church authorities had publically described their occupation as illegitimate, criticizing the use of temples for “political trenches.”
After 48 hours of occupation, the eviction request came from Cardenal Jaime Ortega after several attempts to convince the protesters to abandon the church.
Both the Catholic Church and the Cuban government are preparing for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba from March 26-28.