3 Egyptians light themselves on fire in protest - 1 dies

Possibly inspired by events in Tunisia, cases of self-immolation as an expression of discontent with government seen in several Arab states.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 18, 2011 18:03
1 minute read.
Man who set himself ablaze in Tunisia

Self immolation 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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Security officials on Tuesday said 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.

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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.

Reuters reported similar attempts have been made in Algeria and Mauritania where, as in Tunisia, the population has expressed frustration with high proces, unemployment and authoritarian rule.

News of the Tunisian uprising has dominated the Egyptian media over the past few days, with opposition and independent newspapers lauding the fall of  President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali and drawing parallels between his toppled regime and that of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for nearly 30 years.



Egypt has posted impressive economic growth rates over the past few years, in part fueled by a host of ambitious reforms. But the growth has failed to filter down to many of the estimated 80 million Egyptians.

Nearly half of all Egyptians live under or just below the poverty line set by the U.N. at $2 a day. Mubarak and his ruling National Democratic Party have been pledging to ensure that the fruits of economic reforms benefit more Egyptians.

Self-immolation as a method of protest is uncommon in Egypt, although women in rural and poor urban areas have been known to set themselves on fire to protest violent husbands, abusive parents or an unwanted suitor.

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