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History > 20th century > Cold War > USA > Vietnam war (1962-1975) > Buddhist protests




In the first of a series

of self-immolations by Buddhist monks,

Thich Quang Duc

burns himself to death on a Saigon street

to protest persecution of Buddhists

by the South Vietnamese government

on 11 June 1963.


The photograph aroused worldwide outrage

and hastened the end

of the Ngo Dinh Diem government.


With the photograph on his Oval Office desk,

President Kennedy remarked to his ambassador:

“We’re going to have to do something

about that regime.”


Photograph: Malcolm Browne/AP


Vietnam: The Real War – in pictures


Wednesday 22 April 2015        11.13 BST
















Vietnam Buddhist burns to death        31 May 1966


A 17-year-old Buddhist girl

has committed suicide

by setting herself alight

in a street in the city of Hue.


She was protesting

against the South Vietnam



It is the fifth such death

in three days.


A girl of 19 set herself

alight two days ago

outside a pagoda in Saigon

and a monk did the same

in the mountain town of Dalat.


In June 1963

Buddhist monk

Quang Duc

became famous

when he was photographed

setting himself alight

in a suicide protest


the South Vietnamese


then under

Ngo Dinh Diem.




The Buddhists

are demanding the resignation

of the military government led

by Prime Minister

Air Vice Marshal Ky

and Head of State

General Nguyen van Thieu.



















With Washington's

tacit approval



(Ngo Dinh) Diem


and his brother

were captured

and later killed - November 1, 1963



Diem's brother,

Ngo Dinh Nhu


had raided

the Buddhist pagodas

of South Vietnam,


that they had harbored

the Communists

that were creating

the political instability.


The result

was massive protests

on the streets of Saigon

that led Buddhist monks

to self-immolation.


The pictures

of the monks

engulfed in flames

made world headlines

and caused

considerable consternation

in Washington.


By late September,

the Buddhist protest

had created

such dislocation

in the south

that the Kennedy


supported a coup.


In 1963,

some of Diem's

own generals

in the Army

of the Republic of Vietnam



the American Embassy

in Saigon

with plans

to overthrow Diem.


With Washington's

tacit approval,

on November 1, 1963,

Diem and his brother

were captured

and later killed.


Three weeks later,

President Kennedy

was assassinated

on the streets of Dallas.






















The Buddhist Protests of 1963


Following years

of growing tension,

the Buddhist majority

in South Vietnam


its breaking point

under the repressive regime

of Catholic

Ngo Dinh Diem.


On May 8, 1963,

in the ancient

imperial capital of Hue,

South Vietnamese


opened fire

on a group

of Buddhists

who were flying

the Buddhist flag

in direct violation

of a government ban.


Nine were killed.


In late May

and early June,

the Saigon Buddhists


street demonstrations

and memorial services

for the victims

of the May 8 incident.






Thich Quang Duc,

a Buddhist monk

from the Linh-Mu Pagoda

in Hue, Vietnam,

burned himself

to death

at a busy intersection

in downtown Saigon - June 11, 1963



Eye witness accounts

state that Thich Quang Duc

and at least two fellow monks


at the intersection by car,

Thich Quang Duc

got out of the car,


the traditional lotus position

and the accompanying monks

helped him pour gasoline

over himself.


He ignited

the gasoline

by lighting a match

and burned to death

in a matter of minutes.


















Anglonautes > History


USA > 20th century > Vietnam War (1962-1975)






Anglonautes > Arts > Photography


war photography






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