Myanmar military releases more than 23,000 prisoners as protests against coup continue

CNN)Myanmar’s new ruling junta is releasing tens of thousands of prisoners Friday as angry protests against the military coup continue for the seventh straight day.

Some 23,314 prisoners are set to be granted amnesty and released on Union Day, a national public holiday observing unification of the country, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement. It is unclear what offenses the prisoners were convicted of.
While mass prisoner releases are common on national holidays in Myanmar this is the first such amnesty from the new junta, which seized power in a coup on February 1, ousting democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detaining key government officials.
The military justified taking control of the country by claiming widespread voting irregularities in the November 2020 election, which gave Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD) a second consecutive landslide victory.