A man has been killed amid nationwide protests in Cuba, authorities confirmed on Tuesday.
The Ministry of the Interior of Cuba said in a statement that it “mourns the death” of 36-year-old Diubis Laurencio Tejeda.
This marks the first confirmed death in the largest protest the communist-ruled country has seen in decades.
Tejeda died on Monday while taking part in a clash between protesters and police in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality on the outskirts of Havana, according to the official statement.
Others were arrested and injured, including some officers, but the Cuban regime did not specify how many people were affected.
In the statement, the regime claimed that demonstrators were vandalizing houses, setting fires, and damaging power lines. It also accused protesters of having attacked police and civilians with knives, stones, and other objects.
The state-run Cuban News Agency reported that “organized groups of antisocial and criminal elements” had tried to reach the suburb of La Guinera’s police station, seeking to attack its officials and damage the building.
Protests erupted in multiple cities across Cuba on Sunday with citizens calling for greater freedoms and an end to the communist dictatorship.
Cubans protested against ongoing shortages of food and other goods, high prices, and power cuts, amid a deep economic crisis in the country, made worse by pandemic-related lockdowns.
Shouts of “down with the dictatorship,” “freedom,” and “homeland and life” were heard during the demonstrations, according to footage uploaded online.
According to The Associated Press, protesters gathered at rallying points shared on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Authorities then began shutting down Internet services in some cities on Sunday afternoon to prevent dissidents from broadcasting the protests live, the news agency reported.
Global Internet monitoring firm NetBlocks reported that Cuba has restricted access to social media and messaging platforms including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram since Monday. Cuba was accused of having adopted China-made technology systems to control and block Internet access.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.