They set off through the almost deserted streets to walk back to the NLD office for dinner. But even though the market was long closed and the townspeople were indoors, the army was still determined to impede their progress. "On the way we were told by one military policeman that the road in front of market was not allowed to us." The order seemed ridiculous to Suu -- just another attempt to bully and humiliate them. "Market closed by that time and streets almost deserted. Route given quite a bit longer . . ." Again Suu flatly ignored the army's command. "Ma Ma said ‘We'll take shorter one.' MP shouting angrily after us as we passed him."
By now the sense of danger was acute. "I quickened pace to get ahead of Ma Ma and boys . . . I managed to get right out in front beside Bo Lwin, our very tall, very dark and very nice cameraman and Win Thein, our hot-tempered bodyguard who was carrying the flag." Meanwhile an army jeep roared up and screeched to a halt at the end of the road down which they were walking.
I kept one eye on Win Thein and one on Captain Myint U, who had halted his jeep at the top of the road. Six or seven soldiers jumped down from the jeep and took positions, three or four kneeling, three standing. The kneeling chaps pointing guns somewhat low, at our midriffs, standing ones guns pointed upwards. Someone on jeep turned on a song about army not breaking up etcetera -- we had heard the same song played from afar this morning as Ma Ma spoke at Danubyu's NLD office.
A furious captain swung around to shout and the music stopped in one bar. I felt a bit giggly at this but only for a moment. Captain Myint U came towards us, one arm outstretched and finger wagging, shouting at us to stop walking in procession.
People react to terrifying situations in unpredictable ways. Ma Thanegi's reaction was to get angry herself. "How the hell did this fool expect our group of forty to walk?" she wrote. "Indian file and ten paces apart? We were just hungry, hot and longing to rest. I thought I had better tell this fool the true meaning of 2/88, and called out to him that I would like to talk with him. I shouted this several times but he didn't hear, he was too intent on shouting to Ma Suu that he would shoot if people blocked road."
Suu now offered a compromise. "Ma Ma called out to us to walk at the sides of the road -- I didn't hear because I myself was still shouting at the captain. But somebody came up beside me and pushed me towards the side of the road."