Thousands of people took the streets of Cuba on Sunday to carry out rare protests against the country’s communist government, which made the streets echo with chants like “We want liberty” and “down with the dictatorship”. Several thousand joined hands to march in the streets of San Antonio de les Banos, a city located nearly 30 kilometers away from Havana, with around 50,000 residents.

The demonstrations were reportedly planned in a spontaneous manner to voice concerns over Cuba's deteriorating economic conditions, which have been at a 30-year low, according to reports from AFP.

The crowds majorly consisted of Cuba’s youth, who were marching against President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has been in power since 2019 and has also been in charge of the country’s Communist Party.

The demonstrations were disrupted by the interference of Cuban law enforcement and security officials, who arrived at the scene not long after the protests were triggered.

President Diaz-Canel visited the area later on and was heckled by various people present around his convoy, according to reports from AFP which cited videos posted online.

Small breakout protests were also seen in the Cuban national capital Havana, where a few hundred people were seen.

The protests were most likely sparked by the unfulfilled wishes of the Cuban people, who have reportedly been enraged about the situation of power shortage, long food lines and also a scarcity of medications amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has also been going through a rough patch of the coronavirus pandemic with infections and deaths spiked.

Cuba has been placed under sanctions by the United States, under former US President Donald Trump. Even though Joe Biden has now taken office, the sanctions have not been lifted from the country. 

“The energy situation seems to have produced some reaction here”, Cuban President Diaz-Canel said, while passing on the blame to those who sit in power in the United States, according to reports from AFP.