Reigniting the flames for Tunisia: Another Man Burns

Published January 11th, 2012 - 10:03 GMT
On the anniversary of Bouazzizi's death, another man burns to his death for change.
On the anniversary of Bouazzizi's death, another man burns to his death for change.

A Tunisian who set himself ablaze after he was denied the opportunity to meet three ministers who were visiting a town in south west Tunisia has died.

Ammar Garsallah, 48, had been in hospital since Thursday afternoon after he took part in a sit-in by a group of unemployed to call for jobs and better living conditions.

The social affairs minister, the industry minister and the employment minister were in town to assess the situation in the area hit by violence and high unemployment rates.

"He requested to meet the ministers who were visiting the town, but he had no answer," witnesses said. "He then doused petrol on himself and set himself alight without uttering a word," they said, cited by Tunisian media.

However, clashes followed news of the incident and angry citizens hurled stones at various police outposts and national security offices, prompting the police to use tear gas to disperse them.

The father of three who suffered from extensive third-degree burns was taken to a hospital in Ben Arous in the outskirts of the capital, Tunis, where Mohammad Bu Azizi, the street vendor whose self-immolation on December 17, 2010, sparked massive popular protests in Tunisia that culminated in the ousting of then Tunisian President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali on January 14.

A popular uprising in Gafsa four years ago and put down by Bin Ali is often seen as the precursor of the nation-wide protests that changed the regime.

Similar incidents

In Amman, a Jordanian father has died hours after he set himself alight in the first case of self-immolation in Jordan.

Ahmad Humoud Al Matarna reportedly torched himself on Monday after he failed to find a solution to pressing financial difficulties.

According to Jordanian media, he has been unable to pay mounting bills, especially after he was made redundant and had a limited retirement income.

By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief

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