Myanmar authorities have released more than 2,000 anti-coup protesters from prisons across the country, including local journalists jailed after reporting critically on the junta’s crackdown.
Myanmar has been rocked by massive protests and brutal military action since the February coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi and her government.
Più di 880 civilians have been killed in a crackdown by the state administration council, as the junta terms itself, and almost 6,500 arrestato, according to a local monitoring group.
A crowd of at least 200 people had gathered outside the colonial-era Insein prison, in Yangon, on Wednesday morning after authorities announced the amnesty, an AFP reporter said.
Pressing up against the barricades, many held umbrellas to shelter from light rain, footage on local media showed. One woman held a flower as she waited.
A man waiting outside the prison in the hope that his daughter, a protester, would be among those released, told AFP: “I am very proud of her, I will encourage her to fight until they win.”
By the evening 2,296 protesters had been released from prisons around the country, the junta’s information team said.
Kay Zon Nway, a journalist at Myanmar Now, a news outlet fiercely critical of the junta, was among those freed from Insein prison. She said she had experienced “many things” in the notorious jail.
Danny Fenster, an American journalist, is being held at the same prison, having been detained on 24 Maggio.
There were no foreigners among those released from Insein on Wednesday, a prison official told AFP.
In February, the junta released about 23,000 prisoners. Some rights groups at the time feared the move was designed to free up space for opponents of the military as well as cause chaos in communities.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup, asked the people of Myanmar to stay united in the face of military rule, her lawyers said on Tuesday as she reappeared in a junta court.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 76, a Nobel laureate, and daughter of the independence hero Gen Aung San, has been invisible recently to the outside world except for a handful of courtroom appearances. She has faced several charges and could spend more than 10 years in prison if convicted on all counts.