The officer in charge of the troops, Captain Myint U, acting under the orders of Myint Aung, told Suu that Danubyu was under martial law and that she was therefore forbidden to address the public. Suu was obliged to compromise. "Ma Ma made a speech inside NLD office, then we all left the office to walk to a jetty nearby, intending to take a boat to some of the outlying villages." With the local supporters who had joined them, Win Thein remembers there being some eighty people in the group -- but under the dire regime of Brigadier Myint Aung, even walking in a group was a violation of martial law. "As we walked along, SLORC followed in a car warning us not to walk in a procession," Ma Thanegi wrote in her diary. "Three warnings were given to the effect that if we did not break up they would shoot to kill."
It was the first time they had been subject to such a direct threat to their lives.
"Order was given to load and aim. Arms loudly loaded by soldiers standing near officers as we passed and we looked calmly at them and walked on. Ma Ma told one soldier, ‘Hey, they are telling you to load, aren't you going to, soldier?' They raised their rifles on first warning but after that we were at jetty and already on boats."
They were on the water, and safe. "Stopped at villages, glorious lunch which I sat through with gritted teeth while party supporters recited two poems. With the exception of very few I would like to hit poets who are writing poetry, usually very bad, about doing this and doing that in the movement and reading them aloud . . ."
The military presence did not stop at the town limit. "Armed soldiers all along the way," Ma Thanegi wrote. "Two majors followed in their own boat and one soldier on it grinned and nodded several times when we waved at him."
Despite all the intimidation they had experienced in Danubyu, they planned to return to the town in the evening and spend the night. Not everyone in the party thought this was a good idea: Win Thein says that he was among the voices urging Suu to pass the town by and land further downriver; their cars could drive down from Danubyu and pick them up there. But Suu insisted on sticking to the original program.
Sure enough, the army was there on their return to the town, in the form of a single guard, forbidding them to disembark. "Came back to Danubyu at 6 pm," Ma Thanegi wrote, "when armed and lone soldier tried to stop us from landing. But we said no we are landing. You mustn't come on land, he said, yes we will we said. And we did."