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Massive Buddhist Demonstration in Saigon

Aug. 18, 1963 - About 15,000 Buddhists, most of them young people, crowded around Xa Loi Pagoda in Saigon today and pledged to fast in protest against the Government of President Ngo Dinh Diem. Crowds at Xa Loi have grown larger and more enthusiastic each week for a month. Today’s demonstration followed a week in which there had been three self-immolations by Buddhist clergymen. One source said the Buddhists of Saigon plan to demonstrate again right after the arrival on Aug. 26 of Henry Cabot Lodge, the new U.S. Ambassador. They also plan demonstrations just before the U.N. General Assembly convenes Sept. 17. The stress on these dates is an obvious move to increase pressure on the U.S., which provides the major base of support for the Diem Government. Mrs. Ngo Dinh Nhu, President Diem’s politically powerful, outspoken sister-in-law, recently said the Buddhist self-immolations are “monk barbecue shows” perpetrated by what she calls a “religious cult” that makes a farce of religion to hide its political machinations, which she claims are Communist in orientation.


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