Dec 23, 2009 (DVB), Five members of a pro-government political group in Rangoon have been hospitalized after an attack by another proxy government organization, with both sides now pressing charges.
Around 30 members of the Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics (UMFNP), formed by Aye Lwin and known to have close ties to Burma's ruling junta, were attacked on Saturday by a 200-strong mob led by senior Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) member Myint Lwin.
The UMFNP had been celebrating the opening of their branch office at house of the group's township organising committee member, Tin Ohn.
USDA members arrived with sticks and beat five of the group, including Tin Ohn and his wife, before burning UMFNP flags and a Burmese national flag, said Ye Htun, vice chairman of UMFNP.
Charges were subsequently lodged by the UMFNP against the mob, who then retaliated by pressing charges of their own, including for sedition and disturbing government officials on duty.
The USDA, widely described as a government-backed social organization, has been implicated in a number of violent incidents and is thought to have more than 24 million members across Burma.
The organization is widely tipped to play a key role in government affairs following elections in Burma next year.
"The USDA claims itself to be a civil society group working on development of the nation," said Ye Htun, adding that he didn't why the group had been attacked. "It's not evident that they [USDA] have done social work or have worked for the development of the country."
He added however that he thought the attack "was personal. It was a work of some self-centred people under the name of government organisations".
Thu Wei, leader of the Democratic Party, which holds close ties to the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said that he had heard the incident stemmed from personal feuds. "But it doesn't matter who was involved in it; we still don't like the violence," he said.
Although the UMFNP is not registered as a political party, it is allowed to run offices and campaign in townships outside of Rangoon with assistance from local authorities.
Aye Lwin had formerly been an active student leader during the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, but switched allegiances after reportedly growing disillusioned with the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Reporting by Aye Nai and Maung Too