Cuban gay rights activists held an unauthorized independent pride parade in Havana on Saturday despite the Communist government warning against it and calling it subversive, an unprecedented show of civil society in the one-party state.
More than a hundred Cubans chanting "long live a diverse Cuba" and carrying rainbow flags joyfully marched nearly one kilometer (0.6 mile) from Havana's Central Park down to the seafront boulevard before being stopped by dozens of security officials.
At least three activists were arrested by plainclothes policemen while others were ordered to disperse given the activity did not have an official permit.
"This moment marks a before and an after for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community but also for Cuban civil society more generally," said independent journalist and LGBT activist Maykel Gonzalez Vivero.
"Social media is playing its role and civil society demonstrated it has strength, and can go out onto the streets if necessary, and from now on the government will have to take that into account."
This was the second march organized independently of state institutions - hitherto a rare occurrence in Cuba - in just over a month, although the previous one, in defense of animal rights, had received a permit from local authorities.
Activists called for their own parade after the state-run National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) earlier this week abruptly canceled its 12th annual conga against homophobia - Cuba's equivalent of gay pride. Read more via Reuters