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Violent attacks against ‘Zapata Vive’ March in Holguin end in beatings and arrests of Reina Tamayo and activists


On the morning of October 31st after attending Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Charity Church in the municipality of Banes, Holguin, 46 activists and family members of murdered Cuban political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo carried out a public march along the streets of that city to the cemetery where his grave is, when 39 of them were beaten with rocks and then arrested by State Security officials.


“It was terrible. I could hear Reina from the dungeons cells. She said ‘Down with Fidel, Down with Raúl, Zapata lives!’. The march was great and had the townspeople’s acceptance. The police surrounded the entrance of the cemetery and there were beatings and arrests. I understand some activists have been taken to the State Security Unit for investigation. I was released early today, November 1st. But the march was beautiful. The streets were echoing. It was beautiful,” stated Marlon Martorell, an activist who participated in the march.


According to independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista, on October 31st at noon she received a call from José Marino Ortiz, Reina Tamayo’s husband, who explained that Reina had been detained and that the participants were beaten, dragged, and taken away from the area on buses. A young girl, Lisset María Ortiz, who is 12 years old was also arrested and released at around 8:00 p.m. according to sources from the resistance movement.


“Reina was brutally beaten, detained, and handcuffed. The cemetery was completely surrounded by police, State Security, and the Rapid Response Brigades. At this point all phone lines belonging to not only the participants, but also to the activists who did not participate, have been cut. I have been told that some are detained in the Pedernales State Security Detention Center and others in the Police Unit in Holguin. I haven’t been able to leave because State Security has completely surrounded my house,” informed Caridad Caballero Batista from the city of Holguin.


Finalizing this release, the Cuban Democratic Directorate confirmed that Reina Luisa Tamayo Danger was released in the afternoon of October 31st. She has  beatings in the mouth, neck, and arms. Activist Marlon Martorell confirmed that at the moment of her arrest she was gagged with a gasoline-drenched cloth to silence her screams.


The Cuban Democratic Directorate denounces these aggressions against peaceful human rights activists and the mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a murdered political prisoner, by the Castro brothers’ tyrannical regime. Our organization also calls upon the international community, especially the European Union to take into consideration the increase in repression in Cuba and the aggressions in the streets against human rights defenders.