Cuban dissidents said on Saturday that about 200 people were temporarily detained by the Communist-run island's security services in the days leading up to an international human rights celebration.
Government supporters danced salsa and chanted political slogans in a Havana square to mark the 63rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
Opposition members who had planned to celebrate Human Rights Day in the same place, and protest against abuses in Cuba, were blocked from going to the square, dissidents said.
Some 200 detentions for political motives have taken plan in the last nine days in the lead up to the international Human Rights Day, said Elizardo Sanchez of the independent Cuban Commission of Human Rights said.
Authorities use a tactic of short-duration arrests, who are released a few hours or days later, to impede protests.
International rights groups say Cuban laws virtually prevent all forms of protest and dissent while the government says the free education and health services it provides show its respect for human rights.
On Friday, government backers blocked the dissident group Ladies in White from marching in the street.
The women were heckled again on Saturday by a crowd of government supporters and prevented from leaving a house were they had gathered in central Havana.
Here come the people to fight for what is ours. These streets are ours and that's why we defend them, shouted government sympathizer Mirta Sosa outside the house.
The government has prevented us from exercising the right of free movement in the streets. Here in Cuba, human rights are violated daily, said Ladies in White leader Berta Soler.
The Ladies in White group was formed by the wives and mothers of 75 dissidents jailed in a 2003 crackdown on Castro's opponents. They have since been released by President Raul Castro's government.
Havana's Black Spring of 2003 caused a major fallout between Cuba and the international community, and while some European nations have begun a rapprochement since the prisoner release, relations with long-time ideological foe the United States remain in a deep freeze.
Opposition protests in Cuba are exceedingly rare. Cuba's government, which came to power in a 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, accuses dissidents of being on the payroll of the Washington, which has imposed a trade embargo on the island since Castro embraced Soviet communism in the early 1960s.
On Saturday, state media was filled with stories and commentaries for the anniversary of the adoption of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
The fulfillment of international commitments ... has been implicit in the work of the Cuban Revolution despite the economic war ... and also the systematic plots to destroy it, Jose Luis Mendez Mendez, an analyst at the research arm of the Interior Ministry, wrote in an opinion piece on cubadebate.cu.
(Additional reporting by Reuters TV; editing by Anthony Boadle)