BANGKOK -- Prisoners inside Myanmar’s most notorious jail held a protest Friday, singing popular songs opposing the military government and chanting political slogans, according to nearby residents and to video uploaded to social media.
One video showed a street close to Insein Prison in Yangon with clear audio of voices shouting support for ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint.
According to a lawyer representing some of those detained, the prisoners were demanding the release of all those held on political charges, an easing of prison regulations and medical treatment for those who have fallen sick amid spiraling cases of the coronavirus.
The lawyer asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of his position. He said he believed talks were underway.
A resident, who asked not to be named out of fear of possible repercussions, told The Associated Press by phone that she cried when she heard the chants, which lasted for around two hours.
Prison authorities did not respond to a request for comment. Witnesses said military vehicles entered the compound and soldiers were stationed outside.
Myanmar is currently reeling from soaring numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths that are badly straining the country’s medical infrastructure, already weakened when many state medical workers went on strike to protest the army’s seizure of power.
The country’s overcrowded prisons are especially susceptible to the spread of the virus, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has done surveys of detention facilities.
On Tuesday a member of the executive committee of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, Nyan Win, died after becoming infected with COVID-19 inside Insein Prison.