Anti-government activists in Cuba say that more than 100 people have been arrested or are missing on the island following widespread protests on Sunday.
One person died during clashes with police on Monday, Cuba’s Ministry of Interior said Tuesday, according to state-run Radio Rebelde.
The Movimiento San Isidro, which advocates for greater artistic expression in Cuba, published a list of activists that it said were believed to have been detained by authorities.
Among the detainees is journalist Camila Acosta, according to Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares, who called for her release.
The Interior Ministry said the man who died and other protesters had attacked officials.
On Sunday, CNN journalists witnessed multiple people being forcibly arrested and thrown in the back of vans at protests in Havana. Videos of the protest showed demonstrators turning over a police car and throwing rocks at officers.
The Cuban government has not said how many people were arrested or injured in the disturbances.
These are the largest protests on the island in decades, as Cubans complained about a lack of food and medicine as the country undergoes a grave economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and US sanctions.
In San Antonio de los Banos, a city of about 46,000 people to the west of Havana, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday, fed up after nearly a week of electricity cuts during the sweltering July heat.
“Everyone was in the streets,” one resident, who did not want to be named, told CNN. “They have gone six days with only 12 hours of power each day. That was one of the things that blew this up.”
On Wednesday night, the Cuban government announced it would lift restrictions on travelers bringing in food, medicine and hygiene products. Custom duties on these products will not need to be paid, and the relaxed measures will stay in place for the rest of the year.
Díaz-Canel had previously blamed US trade sanctions for the communist-run island’s economic woes in a nationally televised address, and urged his supporters to physically confront the protesters.
“The order to combat has been given,” he said at the end of his appearance on Sunday. “Revolutionaries need to be on the streets.”
He denied police had used excessive force – but days later, acknowledged the government needed to do more outreach and improve conditions in poor neighborhoods that had been rocked by the protests. He said he didn’t know the exact figure, but estimated “tens of people” had been injured in the protests.
The government also held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the protests, according to state media. It was attended by high-ranking members including former President and Communist Party head Raul Castro, the brother of former President Fidel Castro.
Castro retired his last leadership role in April before turning over power to his handpicked successor Díaz-Canel. At the time, Díaz-Canel said Castro would be consulted on all major issues impacting the island.
Acosta, the detained journalist, writes for the ABC newspaper in Madrid, the Spanish capital.
ABC reported that she was arrested on Monday morning in Havana as she left her home. Later, Cuban security agents searched her home and took her computer, it said. Hours earlier, she had reported on anti-government demonstrations in the Cuban capital on Sunday.
This is not the first time that Acosta has had a run-in with Cuban authorities for doing her job as a reporter, ABC said.
The newspaper said that her arrest is “completely unacceptable.” It also called for Acosta’s “immediate release and the return of all professional material taken from her home,” as well as the dropping of the charges against her for alleged crimes against Cuban state security.
An editor at ABC confirmed to CNN that Acosta is a Cuban national and had been working at the paper for around six months.