Cuban artist briefly freed after protest arrest


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HAVANA (AP) — Artist Tania Bruguera was released Wednesday from detention on charges of disturbing public order for organizing a protest performance to set up an open microphone for Cuban citizens to air their political views, but she apparently was taken back into custody before she could hold a planned meeting with journalists.

Her mother, Argelia Fernandez, told The Associated Press by phone that her daughter had been home and then left. The mother said a state security officer later came to her house and told her that Bruguera was speaking with other security officials and would return home soon.

Bruguera didn't appear as scheduled to speak with the press in late afternoon. Her supporters had announced plans for that meeting in an emailed statement earlier in the day reporting that the artist had been freed. They said her cellphone and passport had been confiscated.

Dissidents said Cuban officials detained dozens of members of the political opposition Tuesday, hours ahead of Bruguera's planned protest performance, which was seen as a test of the government's tolerance for dissent. Most were released within a day but the crackdown was condemned by the U.S., which declared this month that it was moving toward full diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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