Cuban regime supporters seen brandishing large clubs as protest crackdown continues

A large group of pro-regime Cubans took to the streets holding large clubs as they snaked through Havana to confront critics of the country’s dictatorship. 

Over the weekend, mass protests broke out throughout the country as Cubans called for an end to the communist regime that has brought on a historic and crippling economic crisis. Chants of “Down with the dictatorship” rang throughout Havana’s streets. 

Cuba’s authoritarian leader Miguel Díaz-Canel urged his supporters to brandish weapons and confront the anti-government protesters, sanctioning acts of violence.

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“The order to fight has been given – into the street, revolutionaries!” he said in an address, according to the BBC.

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel's government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images) (Yamil Lage/AFP)

Pictures show pro-regime “revolutionary” supporters holding large wooden clubs as they snaked through the streets toward the anti-government protesters. 

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Thousands of Cubans participated in Sunday's demonstrations, chanting "Down with the dictatorship," as President Miguel Díaz-Canel urged supporters to confront the protesters. 

Thousands of Cubans participated in Sunday’s demonstrations, chanting “Down with the dictatorship,” as President Miguel Díaz-Canel urged supporters to confront the protesters.  (Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel's government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021. 

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021.  (Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel's government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021. 

Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021.  (Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned against the use of violence in a Twitter post Sunday, saying the “U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.” 

In a statement Monday, President Biden said Cuban protesters were asserting their basic rights.

“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said.

Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report. 

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