Riots in Tunisia
Photo: Reuters

Protestors torch themselves in Egypt, 1 dies

Officials say man who set himself ablaze in Alexandria suffered from depression; two others survive self-immolation attempt in Cairo

Security officials say a 25-year-old unemployed man has died in hospital a day after he set himself on fire on the roof of his home in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.


The officials said Ahmed Hashem el-Sayed, possibly inspired by events in Tunisia, has been unemployed for a year and suffered from depression. He died in hospital Tuesday. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, had no more details.


In Cairo, two Egyptian men, also inspired by events in Tunisia, attempted to set themselves on fire Tuesday in downtown Cairo, just a day after another man burned himself in front of parliament.


All three men who attempted self-immolation in Cairo have survived.


Egyptian police said on Tuesday they 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.


The fiery protests began in Tunisia on December 17 when 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze. His death sparked an uprising and led to Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country after 23 years in power.


Since then there have been nine other such incidents, believed to be copycat suicide bids.


Five of the later protests took place in Algeria which had also been the scene of violent protests over rising prices, twinned with unemployment.


Copycat Immolations

In the latest in the North African country, a 36-year-old unemployed man set himself on fire near the Algerian frontier with Tunisia in the El Oued region, Algerian newspapers reported.


Another copycat immolation attempt also took place in Mauritania with a man burning himself outside the presidential offices in the capital Nouakchott.


The ouster of Tunisian strongman Ben Ali has left governments in the Middle East increasingly uneasy about the situation as opposition groups seek to take advantage of the upheaval in the North African country.


But Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on Sunday downplayed fears that a Tunisian-style popular revolt could spread to other Arab countries, calling it "nonsense."


AP, AFP contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 01.18.11, 20:13
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