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Thursday, 20 January 2011
Eighth Algerian sets self on fire: report
ALGIERS — Three people in Algeria attempted suicide by fire Wednesday, bringing the total number of such actions to eight in a week, in a replica of protests that ousted the president of neighbouring Tunisia.
Afif Hadri, a 37-year-old father of six, poured petrol over himself in the main market of El Oued in the east of the country, near the Tunisian border, but people around him stopped him setting himself alight, local journalists said.
Hadri, a small-time food seller on the market, acted after an argument with a policeman who said he was trading illegally.
An almost exactly similar case in Tunisia a month ago sparked widespread demonstrations after the victim died, leading to the ouster of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Earlier a woman in her fifties soaked herself with an inflammable product and tried to set herself on fire when a local official convinced her to stop, El Watan daily said, adding that she wounded only her hand as a result.
She was protesting in front of the town hall in Sidi Ali Benyoub, southwest of Algiers, after being denied housing aid, the newspaper added.
A 35-year-old man was also in critical condition after setting himself alight near the town hall of Dellys, outside of Algiers, the report said.
"He was admitted (Tuesday) night in critical condition. Ninety-five percent of his body is covered with third-degree burns," a hospital official told AFP.
Local officials told AFP that the man was mentally ill and that it was an isolated case unrelated to the recent spate of suicide attempts in Algeria.
Mounting public grievances over unemployment and rising costs also sparked protests in Algeria earlier this month which left five people dead and more than 800 injured.
An unemployed father-of-six demanding a job and housing was also hospitalised Tuesday after torching himself. Four other Algerians have set themselves alight since January 12.
Similar protests have been recorded in other parts of the Arab world, including in Egypt where one person died of his injuries on Tuesday.