Anticipation is building that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could soon be released after years of house arrest.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years, but her house arrest order ends on Saturday.
Supporters gathered both near her home in Rangoon, Burma, and at the headquarters of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in a show of solidarity as they waited for a release order to be issued.
There has also been an increased police presence in the area, prompting speculation that her time in detention is nearing an end.
Ms Suu Kyi’s colleagues said an order to release her has already been signed by the country’s ruling generals.
Tin Oo, vice chairman of the party, said he does not know when she will be freed, but added: “My sources tell me that the release order has been signed. I hope she will be released.”
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said paperwork had been delivered to Ms Suu Kyi on Friday but the contents were not known.
Her lawyer Nyan Win said: “Her detention period expires on Saturday and she will be released.” He added that she planned to meet NLD’s central committee, members of the media and the general public when she is released.
Ms Suu Kyi, 65, lived in England while she raised her two sons with her late husband, British scholar Michael Aris, who died of prostate cancer in 1999 at the age of 53. Her younger son Kim, 33, who lives in the UK and has not seen his mother in 10 years, is awaiting her release in Bangkok, Thailand. Her eldest son is understood to live in the US.
She had been due for release last year but was convicted for violating the terms of her previous detention by briefly sheltering an American man who swam uninvited across a lake to her home.