1963 Photo Contest, Spot News, 1st prize

Malcolm W. Browne

The Associated Press

10 June, 1963

Saigon, Vietnam Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself ablaze to protest the South Vietnamese government’s persecution of Buddhists. The self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc occurred during the Buddhist crisis in Vietnam, the civilian upheaval against the predominantly Catholic government of President Ngo Dinh Diem, which was supported by the United States. Although the Buddhists constituted a majority of the Vietnamese, Catholics enjoyed special privileges under Diem’s regime. These privileges were resented by the Buddhists, who began establishing religious and secular organizations to create and activate more political and social awareness. The crisis was precipitated by the shootings of nine unarmed civilians on 8 May 1963 in Hue during a demonstration. Following this incident, street demonstrations by Buddhist monks and nuns demanding political reform and religious freedom became frequent and were violently suppressed by the government.

About the photographer

Malcolm W. Browne

Malcolm Wilde Browne was born on 17 April 1931 in New York City. Browne, a graduate in chemistry, started his journalistic career when he was drafted during the Korean War. In Ko...

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