I.n Myanmar, the military government released more than 23,000 prisoners in an amnesty to mark the traditional New Year celebrations on Saturday. Supporters of the democracy movement who were arrested during the protests against the military coup on February 1st are unlikely to be among them. Most of those released were arrested before February 1, but there were also some among them who were arrested afterwards, prison authority spokesman Kyaw Tun Oo told Reuters on the phone.
When asked if prisoners who might have been detained in connection with the protests against the junta would also be released, he replied that he had no details about the amnesties. According to the AAPP, the AAPP, more than 3,100 people were arrested as a result of the coup. Among them is the deposed de facto head of government and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Saturday is the first day of traditional New Year in Myanmar and the last of the five preceding public holidays. Usually the New Year celebrations in Myanmar are celebrated with ceremonies in Buddhist temples and colorful street parties. This time, however, the democracy movement has called on the people to forego it and instead press ahead with the campaign to restore the elected government. On Friday, the opponents of the military regime proclaimed their own government. It includes deposed MPs, leaders of recent protests and representatives of the country’s ethnic minorities. In Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, protesters took to the streets in support of this government of national unity, according to media reports.
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