The Cuban dissident group Ladies in White denounced Monday the harassment its members in Matanzas province over the weekend.

Caridad Burunate, a member of the Ladies in White, told Efe she went to Mass on Sunday with 11 other members of her group, and as they left the church in Colon parish, they were accosted by a group of government supporters who shouted insults at them and struck them along the way.

Ladies in White leader Berta Soler told Efe they are seeing a change of strategy in the repression of dissidents in Cuba, where the number of arbitrary temporary arrests has diminished while the "psychological" harassment continues.

The Cuban government "has changed its strategy to an offensive aimed at dividing the Ladies in White delegations in the provinces, creating problems for them and trying to instill fear in the women," she said.

The Ladies in White emerged in Havana to request freedom for the 75 dissidents jailed in the "Black Spring" of 2003 and who were freed years later, most of them in a liberation process mediated by the Catholic Church beginning in July 2010.

The European Parliament awarded the Ladies in White the Sakharov Prize in 2005, an honor the group was able to receive only in April of this year, when Soler could travel to Europe thanks to the liberalization of Cuba's migration laws.

The Cuban government considers most dissidents to be "counterrevolutionaries" and mercenaries in the service of the United States. EFE