He never cried out or screamed, but you could see from his expression that he was exposed to intense agony, and that he was dying on the spot.
On the evening of June 10, 1963 Malcolm Browne, a 30-year-old photographer from New York who was employed by Associated Press to cover the war, received a call telling him to be at a particular intersection in Saigon the next morning as something important was going to happen. He was there waiting the following morning, along with David Halberstam, a reporter from The New York Times, when a car pulled up and three or four monks got out.
June 11, 1963, after four years of increased opposition by the Diem government towards Buddhist priests, 67 year old Thich Quang Duc decided to do self-immolation in protest of the President’s policies. He reached at a busy intersection in Saigon with a procession of about 350 monks. He was traveling in a Austin Westminster sedan car in front of the procession. At the intersection he came out of the car along with two other monks. One of those monks placed a cushion in the middle of the road on which Thich Quang Duc sat in lotus position. The other monk emptied a 5 liter gasoline can on him while Thich Quang Duc rotated a string of wooden beads in his hand. Praying to Buddha, he struck a match and within a couple of moments he was engulfed by flames.
Duc was protesting against the Roman Catholic persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem Roman Catholic administration. The Catholic regime had cracked down on practicing Buddhists by banning the flying of the traditional Buddhist flag; prohibiting Buddhists from exercising the same religious freedoms as Catholics; and the continued detainment of Buddhist monks and nuns — a moment referred to as The Buddhist Crisis.