Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Egyptian Man Dies After Setting Himself Alight

18 January 2011 Last updated at 10:08 ET

Egyptian man dies after setting himself alight

Relatives of a man who set himself on fire in Cairo on Tuesday protested after reportedly being denied access to visit him in hospital

A man has died after setting himself on fire in Egypt's northern port city of Alexandria.

Officials say the 25-year-old unemployed man - Ahmed Hashem el-Sayed, who had suffered third-degree burns - died in hospital.

Earlier on Tuesday, another man set himself on fire in the capital, Cairo.

They are the latest such acts in Egypt and the wider North African region, one of which led to the mass protests which toppled the Tunisian government.

The AFP news agency said the man who died in Alexandria had been suffering from depression.

An Egyptian security official said the man who set himself on fire in Cairo was a 40-year-old lawyer called Mohamed Farouk Hassan, Reuters news agency reported.

It quoted an unnamed source as saying he shouted slogans against rising prices before setting himself alight.

AFP quoted an official as saying the man was slightly injured and taken to hospital.

It said police had also arrested a man who was carrying jerry cans of petrol near parliament in Cairo, on the presumption that he was going to set himself on fire.

Similar incidents

On Monday a 50-year-old man, Abdu Abdel-Monaim Kamal, set himself alight outside the parliament after shouting anti-government slogans. He was being treated in hospital for minor burns.

He is a restaurant owner and father of four from the city of Ismailia, east of the capital. The website of Egypt's leading Al-Ahram daily said he had repeatedly held heated arguments with local officials over the price of bread.

Similar incidents have been reported in Algeria and Mauritania.

The actions echo those of the 26-year-old Tunisian man whose self-immolation sparked a wave of protest in the country that brought down the government.

Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in the town of Sidi Bouzid in mid-December, after police prevented him from selling vegetables without a permit. He died in early January.

His action was followed by weeks of increasingly violent protests across Tunisia over unemployment, corruption and high food prices which resulted in the resignation of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last week.

Many in Egypt have voiced the same grievances as the Tunisians.

An Egyptian Facebook group has called for street protests on 25 January, which the organisers are calling a "day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment".

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