Egyptian sets himself on fire in protest of government

Published October 17th, 2016 - 10:45 GMT
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had initially promised modernity and vowed religion would not be used in politics again, but the authorities' actions say otherwise. (AFP/Mohamed El-Shahed )
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had initially promised modernity and vowed religion would not be used in politics again, but the authorities' actions say otherwise. (AFP/Mohamed El-Shahed )

An Egyptian man has set himself on fire in Alexandria, Egypt, reportedly in protest against the country’s high prices and poor living conditions.

The 30-year-old taxi driver, Ashraf Mohammed Shaheen, started criticising the government and the country’s high prices, before dousing himself in petrol and setting himself alight. Video footage of the incident was quickly shared online across various social media platforms.

The New Arab reported that passers-by rushed to extinguish  the fire and called an ambulance, which took him to Amiri Hospital.

The directorate of health affairs in Alexandria issued a statement, saying: “the man’s condition is serious - he poured (gasoline) on himself, causing burns to more than 95 per cent of his body.

The incident provoked wide-spread discussion across social media, with many criticising the Egyptian government for what is perceived as an injust and corrupt political approach. 

Under army regime, injustice, the loss of rights and being stolen, a citizen set himself in fire because of living conditions in front of Ministry of Defense.

He set himself in fire saying: “We do not have money to eat, I want to meet Sisi”
Of course dirty media will come out to say Muslim Brotherhood paid this guy to burn himself.

People are tired with corruption, injustice and high prices that we are living in.
May God punish you Sisi.

Others drew parallels between this incident and the actions of the 26-year-old Tunisian Mohamed bouazizi, the famous street vendor who sparked the 2011 revolution in Tunisia after he set himself on fire in protest of the government.

Soon after the incident, the hashtag #بوعزيزي_مصر (#Bouazizi_Egypt) took off across social media.  

Congratulations we are like Tunisia now! Only two stops left to be like Iraq and Syria!

The incident comes as footage emerged of a tuk tuk driver, harshly criticising the poor living conditions in Egypt. He disappeared from his residency shortly after the video gained visibility.

Public anger in Egypt has been incensed over recent months, with Egyptians hit by rising prices of basic commodities since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power in a military coup in 2013.

The government has stopped subsidising essential products and petrol prices have increased,  making it almost impossible for some to survive. A crackdown on protests and freedom of speech has further incensed frustration among locals.

AM

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