Gay rights activists arrested after unauthorised pride march in Cuba

An unauthorised independent pride parade in Cuba ended in arrest for some activists, after they were stopped by plain-clothed police.

More than 100 people marched in the parade on Saturday, carrying rainbow flags and chanting: "Long live a diverse Cuba!"

They walked for almost a kilometre along the streets of Havana, before being stopped by dozens of security officials, reports Reuters.

At least three people were arrested by officers in plainclothes, while the rest were ordered to disperse, because the march did not have an official permit.

The march was organised after government agency National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex, cancelled its 12th annual conga against homophobia - Cuba's equivalent of gay pride.

"Social media is playing its role and civil society demonstrated it has strength and can go out into the streets if necessary," independent journalist and LGBTQ activist Maykel Gonzalez Vivero told Reuters.

"And from now on, the government will have to take that into account."

The march was promoted on social media. The expansion of the internet in Cuba in recent years has resulted in increasing mobilisation of Cubans over certain issues.

Some of the attendees said they received threats anonymously on social media, as well as from state security in person, warning them not to attend the parade.

Mariela Castro, the daughter of Communist Party leader Raul Castro said certain groups had been planning to use the parade to undermine the government.

She said in a statement that activists were emboldened by the aggression of the Trump administration against Cuba and its ally Venezuela.

However, many LGBTQ activists believe the government is reacting to pressure from evangelical churches which have a growing presence in Cuba.