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Report of rare protest by independent workers in eastern Cuba

Witnesses say independent vendors in eastern Cuba staged a highly unusual protest after state inspectors allegedly seized unauthorized goods from their stalls, prompting the state-backed labor union to promise to seek a solution to their grievances.

Home furnishings vendor William Zaldivar said by telephone Friday that goods were confiscated from about a half-dozen vendors, who were fined 700 pesos ($28) and stripped of their business licenses. A few dozen went to protest at the regional government offices in Holguin, pushing past police and shouting that they wanted to work.

Zaldivar says officials of the state labor union met them and offered to seek a solution.

Independent human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said several sources confirmed Tuesday's demonstration and its size.

Officials have complained that some vendors sell stolen state goods.