Cuban security agents beat and detained about 40 dissidents after the mother of the late political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo and her supporters prayed at his tomb, activists reported Monday.
The mother, Reina Luisa Tamayo, said she was repeatedly hit on the head, thrown to the ground and gagged with a smelly rag that left her breathless as she shouted anti-government slogans.
Security officers also kicked several handcuffed young men during the incident Sunday, added Marlon Martorell, a dissident who took part in the protest.
Tamayo and most of the 40 others detained were released later Sunday or early Monday but some remained unaccounted for Monday afternoon, including one of Tamayo's sons, Martorell reported.
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The detentions appeared to be one of the harshest crackdowns yet on supporters of Tamayo, whose son's death in February after a lengthy hunger strike became a rallying cry for dissidents in Cuba and abroad.
Tamayo and Martorell said about 40 supporters joined the regular Sunday march from her home in the eastern town of Banes to Mass at a local Catholic church and to the cemetery where her son is buried.
The mother said groups of government supporters harassed them on the way from church to the cemetery, and one man ``authorized by the state security'' threw rocks at the marchers, hitting at least three.
Martorell also reported that a ``security agent in civilian clothes'' shouted epithets and threw rocks at the marchers. Some of the marchers threw rocks back, he said by phone from Banes, but kept walking toward the cemetery.
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