U.S. calls for calm in Cuba, concerned by images of violence

·1-min read

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Tuesday called for calm in Cuba and said it was concerned by images of violence it had seen in the past few days.

"We call for calm and we condemn any violence against those protesting peacefully, and we equally call on the Cuban government to release anyone detained for peaceful protest," State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing.

Price said the United States was always considering options that would allow it to support Cuban people and called on the Havana government to demonstrate restraint and open all means of communication, both online and offline.

Global internet monitoring firm NetBlocks said on Tuesday that Cuba has restricted access to social media and messaging platforms including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram since Monday, amid widespread anti-government protests.

Thousands of Cubans joined demonstrations in cities and towns throughout the country on Sunday to protest Cuba's economic crisis and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with some calling for an end to communism.

The government has said the demonstrations were orchestrated by U.S.-financed counter-revolutionaries, manipulating frustration with an economic crisis that it says has been largely caused by the decades-old U.S. trade embargo.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis, Daphne Psaledakis, Humeyra Pamuk and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)

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