Thousands of Cubans took to the streets around the country on Sunday to protest the ruling Communist Party. According to the BBC, protesters were heard chanting “Freedom” and “Down with communism” as they filled the streets.
Videos emerging from protests throughout the country also showed demonstrators storming Communist Party offices and turning over vehicles of the country’s Revolutionary National Police.
On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Cuban-American lawmaker, shared video of demonstrators storming the Communist Party offices in the Cuban town of Batabanó and tweeting, “Locals take control of local Communist Party office This kind of courage & bravery needs to be shared with the whole world #SOSCuba #PatriaYVida.”
Rubio’s tweet reshared video originally posted by another Twitter user, who in a translated tweet said, “The town of Batabanó took the headquarters of the Union of Young Communists of the municipality … Images keep coming. #SOSCuba.”
Cuban-American conservative political strategist Giancarlo Sopo tweeted, “Holy shit! Pro-democracy protestors just flipped a National Revolutionary police car in Camagüey. I have never seen anything like this. #SOSCuba #PatriaYVida.”
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party of Cuba, gave a TV address calling on “revolutionary” Cuban citizens to take to the streets and fight those demonstrating against the Cuban government.
“The order to fight has been given – into the street, revolutionaries,” Diaz-Canel said, according to the BBC.
In response to Diaz-Canel’s call for revolutionary citizens to fight, Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung tweeted, “We are deeply concerned by ‘calls to combat’ in #Cuba. We stand by the Cuban people’s right for peaceful assembly. We call for calm and condemn any violence.”
On Monday, President Joe Biden also shared a message of support for Cubans protesting their government.
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said in a statement provided to American Military News.
Twitter users also said the Cuban government had cut power throughout parts of the country and limited communication.
NBC News reported Cubans throughout the country confirmed the government had cut internet services to prevent live broadcasts of events within the country from getting out.
A Havana resident who requested anonymity told NBC News, “They do not want the world to see what is happening in Cuba.”
One Twitter user tweeted, “#CubaLibre . Last night militaries on the streets of #cuba . Internet is down, thousands missing, communication is limited #soscuba#CubaLibre.”
One Twitter user tweeted video showing some Cuban police officers in the city of Santiago de Cuba had joined in with protesters. “The police in Santiago de Cuba join in the protests. See video. We have never seen that happen before. #SOSCuba #VivaCubaLibre.”
On Monday morning, another Twitter user shared video showing more police joining in with demonstrators throwing rocks.
“In some parts of the country, police and special forces have taken the People’s side and joined the protests This is the beginning of the end for this Tyrannical rule @DiazCanelB is the latest puppet from the monsters who’ve forced Cuba to endure such suffering since 1959.”
One Cuban government official, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla tweeted other footage of pro-government Cubans marching through a city street. Parilla tweeted, “The people mobilize against the campaign of imperialism against #Cuba . International solidarity and Cubans residing abroad organize support for the Nation #EliminaElBloqueo.”