Yangon: Myanmar authorities released more than 2,000 anti-coup protesters from prisons across the country including local journalists jailed after reporting critically on the junta’s bloody crackdown.
Myanmar has been rocked by massive protests and a brutal military response since the February coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi and her government.
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.
After authorities announced the release, a crowd of at least 200 people gathered outside the colonial-era Insein prison in Yangon hoping a loved one might be released, a reporter said.
Pressing up against the barricades, many held umbrellas to shelter from light rain, footage on local media showed, with one woman holding 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 a total of 2,296 protesters had been released from prisons around the country, the junta’s information team said in a statement.
As buses pulled out of Insein to take detainees to local police stations where they were due to be released, those onboard flashed the three-finger salute — a popular protest symbol — through the windows.
Local media published images it said showed trucks pulling out of the northern town of Myitkyina, also carrying detainees.
Journalist Kay Zon Nway of Myanmar Now was among those freed from Insein, the news outlet said in a statement. AFP