Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading pro-democracy leader in Burma, and her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were violently attacked on May 30 while her convoy was touring a town about 25 miles from the capital. Suu Kyi and 18 members of the NLD were taken to an undisclosed location, and there are serious concerns for their safety. There are reports that Suu Kyi had suffered some injuries from the attack. The military junta ruling Burma (which changed the country’s name to Myanmar) is reporting only four deaths, but many believe the number could be as high as 80, reports Agence France Press. According to Amnesty International, those injured or missing include Deputy chairman U Tin U, NLD members, monks, and students. The junta also closed all of the NLD offices and universities and colleges around the country.
The United States, the European Union, and Britain are pressuring the military rulers for Suu Kyi’s release, and they are considering increased trade and investment penalties, according to Reuters. Razali Ismail, the United Nations envoy for Burma, with pressure from Western governments, multinational corporations, and pro-democracy groups, was successful in working with the ruling generals to set Suu Kyi free from house arrest in May of last year. Ismail is in Burma today hoping to secure a meeting with Suu Kyi, who has not been seen since the attack.
Suu Kyi also endured house arrest from 1989 to 1995 after she emerged as a leader of the opposition movement. The military regime refused to honor the results of the 1990 election, where Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) garnered an overwhelming majority of the popular vote.