Myanmar’s military government freed its archrival, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on Saturday after her latest term of detention expired. Several thousand jubilant supporters streamed to her residence.
A smiling Suu Kyi, wearing a traditional jacket, appeared at the gate of her compound as the crowd chanted, cheered and sang the national anthem.
The 65-year-old Noble Peace Prize laureate, whose latest period of detention spanned 7 1/2 years, has come to symbolize the struggle for democracy in the Southeast Asian nation ruled by the military since 1962.
The release from house arrest of one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners came a week after an election that was swept by the military’s proxy political party and decried by Western nations as a sham designed to perpetuate authoritarian control.
Supporters had been waiting most of the day near her residence and the headquarters of her political party. Suu Kyi has been jailed or under house arrest for more than 15 of the last 21 years.