The Ladies in White, a group founded by relatives of Cuban political prisoners, said some of its members were subjected to violent harassment by government supporters in Havana.

Spokeswomen Berta Soler said 49 members of the group set out Thursday afternoon from the home of Ladies leader Laura Pollan on a silent march to protest earlier repression of human rights activists in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

About a block from Pollan's home, the Ladies were confronted by dozens of supporters of Cuba's Communist government who were determined to block their path, Soler said.

"They shouted insults at us, such as mercenaries, shameless," she told Efe by telephone, adding that the mob physically attacked the women and resorted to violence to force them to return to Pollan's residence.

"This is organized by the government and we hold them responsible for anything that may happen to us, because we are peaceful women and we will continue to struggle peacefully, because nobody is going to stop us from going to church to pray for the freedom of the political prisoners," Soler said.

The Ladies in White were honored by the European Parliament in 2005 with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience.