(Rangoon) The Burmese junta announced on Monday the release of more than 3,000 prisoners on the occasion of the Buddhist New Year, without specifying whether this amnesty applied to those arrested as part of its crackdown against the opposition.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing “pardoned 3,015 detainees to celebrate the Burmese New Year, for the peace of the people, and on humanitarian grounds,” the ruling military’s communications department said.

In the event of a new violation of the law, those released will have to serve the remainder of their sentence with an additional sentence, it is indicated.

The statement did not specify whether opponents of the junta, or journalists imprisoned for covering the putsch were affected by the amnesty.

To this total are added some 98 foreigners convicted in Burma who will also be released, according to another announcement from the junta, which did not provide further details.

In front of Insein prison, in Rangoon, a hundred people gathered in the hope of finding an incarcerated relative who would have benefited from the amnesty.

Some shouted names and waved as two yellow buses rolled out of the prison compound.

“I hope he will be released today” [Monday], Win Win Htay told AFP of his youngest brother, behind bars for four months for a small knife, that the police found out about him at a checkpoint.

Since the February 1, 2021 coup that overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the military has arrested thousands of dissidents, leading a violent crackdown denounced by rights groups.

Fighting has erupted in several parts of Burma between the junta and its armed opponents — both anti-coup fighters, and ethnic groups who have been fighting it for years.

About 170 people were killed in an airstrike on Tuesday in a village in the Sagaing region (Center), the junta justifying this attack by the presence of many rebels on the scene.

In response to this massacre, which provoked new reactions of indignation internationally, several major Burmese cities remained silent during the Buddhist New Year festivities, usually marked by large water fights in the streets.

More than 21,000 people have been arrested since the coup, according to a local NGO. The junta’s crackdown affected at least 170 journalists, according to the United Nations.

Aung San Suu Kyi (77) remains detained in the capital Naypyidaw, where she is serving a 33-year prison sentence on a litany of charges, deemed political by human rights groups.

They had challenged the amnesty of nearly 23,000 detainees shortly after the military took power, a decision they said was aimed at making room in the prisons for opponents of the junta and creating chaos in the country. the communities.