SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 24 July 2021, Saturday |

U.S. calls for calm in Cuba, concerned by images of violence

The US State Department urged for calm in Cuba on Tuesday, citing pictures of violence witnessed in recent days as a source of worry.

“We call for calm and condemn any violence against people protesting peacefully,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a routine news briefing. “We also call on the Cuban authorities to release anyone jailed for peaceful protest.”

Price said the US was continually thinking about ways to help the Cuban people, and he urged the Havana government to exercise restraint and open all lines of communication, both online and offline.

Global internet monitoring firm NetBlocks said on Tuesday that Cuba has restricted access to social media and messaging platforms including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram since Monday, amid widespread antigovernmental protests.

Thousands of Cubans joined demonstrations in cities and towns throughout the country on Sunday to protest Cuba’s economic crisis and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with some calling for an end to communism.

The government has said the demonstrations were orchestrated by U.S.-financed counter-revolutionaries, manipulating frustration with an economic crisis that it says has been largely caused by the decades-old U.S. trade embargo.