TV cameras and photographers have captured the dramatic moment an Israeli protester set himself on fire during a rally.
The man in his 40s poured flammable liquid over himself at a protest in Tel Aviv before setting himself alight in front of shocked onlookers.
People crowded around, trying to put out the flames with shirts and water. Others could be heard shouting ‘medic’ and ‘bring water quickly.’
The man was taking part in a protest on Saturday night to mark the anniversary of a wave of demonstrations against the high cost of living and other social issues which swept the country.
Israel’s Channel 10 TV showed footage of the man on fire. He left a letter blaming the government for his financial difficulties.
He was later rushed to a hospital where he is now being treated for serious burns.
Cases of self-immolation – when a person sets themselves on fire – as a form of protest are rare in Israel, and it is not clear what prompted the man to set himself alight.
In 2005, a woman died of burns sustained after she set herself on fire to protest Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip when the government evicted thousands of Israelis from their homes.
Outside of Israel, the most famous recent case of self-immolation took place in Tunisia, where fruit-seller Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, helping set off the country’s uprising – and with it, the Arab Spring.
Saturday’s rally in Tel Aviv took place at the same time as one in Jerusalem. Some of the few thousand people who turned out carried signs reading ‘social justice for everybody’ and ‘stop exploiting us.’
Saturday’s demonstrations were part of an effort to re-energise a protest movement which began last July with complaints about housing prices but quickly shifted to a wide range of social economic issues like high food costs, low wages and better education.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the demonstrations last year, and protest camps sprouted up in city centres across the country.
About half a million Israelis took to the streets when the protest movement peaked last year.
Demonstrations dwindled out soon after the government set up a committee it said would provide solutions to the wide array of social issues plaguing Israelis.
Protest leader Daphni Leef said Saturday that little has changed since then.
Source: The Daily Mail