A young Tunisian who set himself on fire last month in a protest over unemployment, sparking a wave of unrest and riots, has died in hospital, his relatives told AFP Wednesday. The death on Tuesday of 26-year-old university graduate Mohamed Bouazizi was also announced by Paris-based rights groups. "Mohamed died yesterday (Tuesday) at 5:30 pm at the hospital in Ben Arous," said his brother Salem Bouazizi.
Despite his education, Bouazizi was forced to sell fruit and vegetables on the street in the Sidi Bouzid region of central Tunisia to earn a living. After police confiscated his produce because he did not have a permit, he burned himself in protest on December 17, rights groups said.
The Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, announcing Bouazizi's death, said the underlying causes of the unrest should be looked into. "An investigation or a national commission is needed to determine the causes and the solutions of this social protest which has taken a tragic form," said the leader of the group, Souhayr Belhassen.
It should be mentioned that Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had visited Bouazizi in hospital late December.