U.N. rights boss calls on Cuba to release protesters

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 9, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

GENEVA, July 16 (Reuters) - The U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Cuba on Friday to release protesters and several journalists arrested at demonstrations and denounced alleged excessive use of force against some of them.

"It is particularly worrying that these include individuals allegedly held incommunicado and people whose whereabouts are unknown. All those detained for exercising their rights must be promptly released," she said in a statement calling for dialogue to address grievances and for the Internet to be fully restored.

Thousands of Cubans joined a wave of nationwide protests over shortages of basic goods, curbs on civil liberties and the government's handling of a surge in COVID-19 infections on Sunday, in the most significant unrest in decades in the Communist-run country.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams

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