Myanmar authorities have released more than 2,000 anti-coup protesters from prisons nationwide, including local journalists jailed after reporting critically on the junta’s bloody crackdown.
coup, Myanmar has been rocked by massive protests and a brutal military response that ousted former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government.
According to a local monitoring group, more than 880 civilians have been killed in a crackdown by the State Administration Council – as the junta calls itself – and almost 6,500 arrested, according to a local monitoring group Myanmar’s deposed Leader Aung San Suu Kyi in December 2018.” src=”https://sl.sbs.com.au/public/image/file/630b8769-dd6a-4fb5-8d1a-15c2e1b0667d” alt=” Myanmar authorities released more than 2,000 anti-coup protesters from prisons across the country” width=”700″ height=”438″ />
Afterthe release, a crowd of at least 200 people gathered outside the colonial-era Insein prison in Yangon, hoping a loved one might be released.
Pressing up against the barricades, many held umbrellas to shelter from light rain; footage onshowed one woman having a flower.
One man waiting outside the prison for his daughter, a protester, said he was “very proud of her”.
“I will encourage her to fight until they win,” he said.
By the evening, 2,296 protesters had been released from prisons, the junta’s information team said in a statement.
As buses pulled out of Insein to take detainees to localwhere they were due to be released, those onboard flashed the three-finger salute – a famous protest symbol – through the windows.
Local media published images that showed trucks pulling out of the northern town of Myitkyina, also carrying detainees.
The news outlet said that journalist Kay Zon Nway of Myanmar Now was among those freed from Insein.
She said she had experienced “many things” in the notorious jail but added that she would explain later.
journalist Danny Fenster is being held at the same prison after being detained on 24 May.
There were no foreigners among those released from Insein on Wednesday, aof anonymity.
Ye Myo Khant, a 20-year-old photojournalist for the Myanmar Press Agency, was freed Wednesday after 120-day detention.
“I was reporting when they unjustly arrested me,” he said.
While individuals will welcome the release and, it “will do nothing to blunt popular resistance to military rule”, Richard Horsey, senior advisor on Myanmar to the International Crisis Group, said.
“They should never have been detained. We should also remember that some of these people havelasting damage, visible and invisible.”
In February, the junta released around 23,000 prisoners, with some rights groups at the time fearing the move would free up space for military opponents and cause chaos in communities.
Ousted leader Ms. Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since the coup, asked the people ofrule, her lawyers relayed Tuesday as she reappeared in a junta court.
The Nobel laureate, and daughter of independence hero General Aung San, has been invisible to the outside world bar a handful of courtroom appearances.
Ms. Suu Kyi, 76, has been hit with an eclectic raft of charges. She could face more than a decade in prison if convicted on all counts.