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HAVANA, Cuba (CBSMiami) – A group of Cuban dissidents that had barricaded themselves inside a Havana church to demand an audience with Pope Benedict XVI have been removed by Cuban authorities, according to the BBC.

The group was demanding political and social changes and planned on asking the Pontiff to ask the Cuban government to release political prisoners and end what they perceived to be repression on the island.

The dissidents also demanded freedom of expression and of movement, open doors to information, and participation in a discussion for a road map to a law-based state, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.

The protesters were removed from the Church of Charity in Havana late Thursday by request of Havana’s cardinal, the BBC reported.

Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit Cuba from March 26-29.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)


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