YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar's military government freed its arch-rival, 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 and a flower in her hair, appeared at the gate of her compound as the crowd chanted, cheered and sang the national anthem.
Speaking briefly in Burmese, she thanked the well-wishers, who quickly swelled to as many as 5,000, and said they would see each other again Sunday at the headquarters of her political party.
The 65-year-old Nobel 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.