Cuban police break up women's sit-in for release of political prisoners

Police broke up a peaceful sit-in by a small group of women demanding the release of their jailed husbands Monday, forcing them aboard a bus at a park near the offices of Cuban President Raul Castro and driving them home. The 10 women, half of them members of the "Ladies in White" dissident group, gathered early Monday at the park beside Havana's famed Revolution Square. The demonstration was broken up a little more than three hours later when a bus carrying more than 20 uniformed policewomen arrived. The protesters locked arms and refused requests to leave, prompting officers to pin them to the ground with their arms behind their backs, said Berta de Los Angeles Soler, whose activist husband, Angel Moya, is serving 20 years in prison. Soler said the women were carried onto the bus and driven home. Seven participants were taken out of the capital to their homes in other provinces. Relatively rare protests in Cuba are often quickly broken up by plainclothes security forces, though the officers on Monday wore police uniforms. In 2005, the Ladies in White appeared in the same park behind the plaza's monument to independence hero Jose Marti and delivered a letter to authorities demanding the release of all Cuban political prisoners.