Myanmar's parliament gathered for the first after the November elections ended decades of military rule [AFP]

Myanmar has opened its first parliament in more than two decades, an event greeted with cautious optimism by opposition lawmakers despite the military's tight management of the event.

Heavy security was in place when hundreds of uniformed soldiers and over 1,000 elected members of parliament gathered in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's capital, for Monday's opening.

Each vehicle entering the massive parliamentary parliament compound was checked for bombs, while reporters were barred from witnessing the proceedings inside.

"Parliament started at 8:55am. All members attended," a Myanmar official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

There is muted hope that the new legislature will be a step in the right direction for a country that has seen the army rule with impunity since a 1962 coup ended the last legitimate parliamentary democracy.

After a November election, marred by the absence of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and claims of cheating and intimidation, the military leadership enjoys a crushing majority in the new parliament.

Source: Agencies