Myanmar’s authorities will free around 700 prisoners from Yangon’s Insein jail on Wednesday, prison chief Zaw Zaw told Reuters, in a release that is expected to include some of the thousands of people detained for opposing military rule.
The prison chief said he did not have a list of those being released, but BBC Burmese language news reported it would include people accused of incitement after speaking out against the coup.
A crowd of people gathered ahead of the release outside the Insein prison, a colonial-era jail on the outskirts of the commercial hub of Yangon, photographs on social media showed.
The Myanmar Now news portal reported that across the country about 2,000 prisoners would be released. A prisons department official declined to comment.
Since the junta ousted the elected government of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, authorities have faced daily strikes that have paralyzed official and private business, while ethnic insurgencies, that have beset Myanmar for decades, have also flared up. Many people have been arrested under section 505A of the penal code, which criminalizes comments that could cause fear or spread false news and is punishable by up to three years in jail.