Cuba protests fold under government pressure

Calls for protests in Cuba rallying for greater civil rights fell flat on Monday in the face of government pressure.

Calls on social media have circulated for months for a 'civil march for change'.

There were plans for protests in 10 cities, from the capital Havana to Pinar del Rio and Guantanamo.

But the communist government banned Monday's demonstrations and many dissidents stayed home.

Locals out on the street in Havana said government opponents were too intimidated to turn up.

"The police are stationed everywhere. There won't be a demonstration because people are afraid, they are afraid that they will repress them and beat them."

Some videos online showed individuals or small groups shouting slogans, but they were quickly shouted down by pro-government supporters.

Ahead of the protests, officials claimed they part of a destabilization campaign by the U.S.

It all stands in contrast to July's protests when some of the largest demonstrations in decades swept across the island.

Authorities clamped down on those rallies, and hundreds still remain in jail.

One Cuban political expert told Reuters that the timing of Monday's protests, the same day tourism and schools were reopening after pandemic restrictions touched a nerve with the government.

Human rights groups said state security and groups of pro-government supporters had staked out the homes of high-profile dissidents.

The government has not commented on these incidents.

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