ICC Note: On October 28, local Christians in Cuba held a sit-in and march to peacefully protest the ongoing demolition of confiscation of church property. The protest, consisting of roughly 500 people, led authorities to halt the demolition of a church in Santiago, Cuba. The protesters, who were gathered inside the church, told the authorities that the demolition would have to take place with them still inside.
11/02/2015 Cuba (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) – Cuban authorities were forced to halt demolition of an Assemblies of God church in the city of Santiago de Cuba on 28 October when peaceful protestors, including the denomination’s regional head, held a spontaneous sit in at the church.
The protestors had taken part in an unauthorised march through the city and a peaceful demonstration at the local Cuban Communist Party (CCP) offices to protest ongoing government confiscations and demolitions of church properties.
Approximately 500 Christians reportedly joined the march. Simultaneous protest marches were held in the cities of Guantanamo and Contramaestre.
Church leaders in Santiago told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that the unprecedented march was organised by the regional Assemblies of God leadership to protest a wave of government expropriations of church property which began earlier this year. The protestors were gathered in front of the CCP offices, singing and praying, when they learned that an order had been given and demolition had begun on an Assemblies of God church. Pastor Fausto Polemo, the leader of the church, was informed earlier this year that his church was to be confiscated and he was prohibited from holding any more services.
The protestors marched to the church, located on Calle Marti, where they found that demolition had already begun and the walls had been knocked down, despite the protests of the owner of the property. They gathered under the roof which was still resting on the frame of the building and which had not been destroyed. They then told the authorities that if they wished to continue the demolition, it would have to be carried out with them inside.