Myanmar authorities today decided to release 23,000 prisoners in celebration of the New Year, while Myanmar Military Council Chairman Min Aung Hling plans to attend the summit. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia on April 24.
A spokesperson for Myanmar’s Prisons Department said: “Authorities have released over 23,000 prisoners across the country as part of an amnesty marking the new year in the country.”
However, this number will not include activists for the return of democracy who were arrested after the military coup in early February.
The spokesperson confirmed to Reuters by telephone that most of these (released) people were arrested before February 1, and there are also those who were imprisoned afterwards. “
Today, Saturday is the first day of the New Year, as is customary in Myanmar, and it is the last day of the 5-day holiday.
Pro-democracy activists have called for the celebrations to be canceled this year and to focus instead on a campaign to restore democracy, after the military ousted the elected government of Nobel Prize-winning leader Aung San Sochi.
Sochi was among 3,141 people arrested, according to a count published by the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.
Myanmar has witnessed unrest since the coup, which the military said was a response to the electoral fraud won by the Sochi party last November, although the electoral commission decided otherwise. Publicity
The ousted government seized power in the country during the first five years of civilian rule, which came nearly half a century after the military’s control over the reins of power ended.
People, angry at the return of military rule, take to the streets day after day to demand the return of democracy in defiance of the repression carried out by the security forces, in which 728 people have been killed, according to the latest figures published by the Association for the Assistance of Prisoners.
Political leaders – including deposed members of parliament – on Friday announced the formation of a government of national unity, which includes Sochi and leaders of anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities.
The government of national unity says it is the political and legitimate authority, and has called for international recognition. The military council has yet to comment on the unity government, but said it will hold new elections within two years and hand power to the winner. https://www.youtube.com/embed/I7t5m86-tc8?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=ar&autohide=2&wmode=transparent
In a related context, Thailand said today, Saturday, that “Myanmar Military Council Chairman Min Aung Hling will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Indonesia April 24 ”, in his first travel announcement since taking power on February 1.
Myanmar’s neighbors are trying to encourage talks between the junta and the ousted government, but the military has paid little attention.
“A number of ASEAN’s 10 leaders – including Min Aung Hling – have confirmed that they will attend the Jakarta meeting,” Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Sangrat said.
In Indonesia, activists staged a bicycle march from south of the capital Jakarta to the Myanmar embassy headquarters to demand the restoration of democracy in Myanmar, two and a half months after the military coup.
Activists called for an end to what they called gross human rights violations, which have resulted in the deaths of more than 700 civilians so far, many of whom were protesters.
Indonesia witnesses rallies and solidarity activities with the popular movement in Myanmar.