| A Myanmar national protests during a demonstration in Tokyo. (Reuters)
Bangkok, July 4 (AFP): Two Myanmar pro-democracy activists who witnessed the May 30 riots that triggered Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention today described a savage scene that left some 70 people dead.
The men said they fled for their lives after the violence, eventually finding their way into Thailand to give the first direct account of the attack mounted by thousands of members of a pro-junta gang, some disguised as monks.
In sworn affidavits, the two members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) said they witnessed a brutal attack on her convoy as she carried out a political tour of northern Myanmar.
They said the attackers who were crazed with drink and drugs used rods to smash their way into Aung San Suu Kyi’s car and that she only escaped a beating because she did not emerge from the vehicle, which was later able to speed off.
NLD vice-chairman Tin Oo who was travelling in another vehicle was wounded in the head, and women in a third vehicle were dragged out, stripped and bashed, said NLD youth wing member Wunna Maung.
“I saw the attackers jump onto them and wrapped the hair around their heads and pounded the heads against the stone surface of the road, with all their force,” he said. “From my mind, I still cannot get rid of the sight of people, covered in blood, being beaten mercilessly and inhumanly.”
The other escapee, Khin Zaw, who was a senior NLD member in northern Myanmar, said some 3,000 attackers used iron bars, bamboo sticks and bats to attack Suu Kyi’s supporters.
“I was hearing the wounded, dying victims moaning and wailing in pain, shrieking in agony and crying out for help ... Truly, it was a murderous attack. The beating was done until the victims died,” he said.
The two men had planned to reveal their account of the violence in a press conference here but it was cancelled due to fears they would be arrested amid a crackdown on Myanmar dissidents living in Thailand.
After testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee they instead went directly to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Bangkok to apply for refugee status.