A pitched battle broke out between Buddhist students and combat police, during a funeral procession in Saigon on Wednesday (1 September).
A pitched battle broke out between Buddhist students and combat police, during a funeral procession in Saigon on Wednesday (1 September). The funeral was for a Buddhist youth, who had died at an army training camp. At least five policemen and 12 students were injured in the fighting, which flared up near the crematorium, where the youth's body was being carried.
The trouble erupted when police attempted to confiscate anti-government banners and placards carried by students. Earlier, police had made no attempt to stop the students from handing out anti-government leaflets, as the funeral procession wound its way through the streets of Saigon.
The Buddhist youth cremated on Wednesday was one of three students who died of meningitis last week, while at the Quang Trung Military Training Centre. Student leaders have claimed their deaths were caused by poor health facilities at the centre and alleged government indifference.
SYNOPSIS: In Saigon on Wednesday, two-thousand mourners -- most of them Buddhist students -- took part in a funeral procession for a Buddhist student who had died at a South Vietnamese army training centre.
Initially police allowed the procession to continue unimpeded, despite the handing out of ant-government leaflets.
As the procession neared the crematorium however, police began to confiscate anti-government banners and placards. At least five policemen and twelve students were injured in the ensuing battle. Police fired several tear gas canisters at the students, who threw stones and bottles. Only a handful of monks, nuns and students were left to carry out the cremation ceremonies. The student had died, along with two others, of meningitis. Student leaders say that the deaths were caused by poor health facilities at the army training centre.