Leaders of the Cuban dissident group the “Ladies in White” have met Catholic Church officials to seek their help over what they claim is violence and harassment by government supporters.
They say members have been roughed up, while a new section in Cuba’s second city Santiago de Cuba has been targeted.
There have been complaints that marches demanding the release of political prisoners have been disrupted.
“Ladies in White” member Berta Soler said that on one occasion more than 300 men were sent by the government. She claimed that they wore black hoods and brandished nooses to intimidate the Ladies, and used tear gas against them.
Group leaders met church officials in Havana and asked them to intervene to stop the harassment.
Last year, the Church helped secure an agreement from the government to allow marches in the capital, and 115 political prisoners were freed.
But Cuban leaders view dissidents as being in the pay of the United States.