Second Tunisian man sets self on fire in 2 days

AP News
Posted: Jan 07, 2012 10:35 AM
Second Tunisian man sets self on fire in 2 days

A middle-aged man with a history of mental illness set himself on fire Saturday in northern Tunisia, two days after a similar case in the south.

Hedia Khemiri of Bougatfa hospital says 50-year-old Daoud Bouhli poured gasoline over himself and then ignited it in front of Bizerte town hall in the country's north.

Self-immolation has enormous resonance in the country that last year overthrew its long ruling dictator in an uprising sparked by fruit vendor Mohammed Bouazizi setting himself on fire after being harassed by police.

His actions set in motion a number of similar incidents across North Africa and self-immolation became a symbolic protest for people who had lost all hope, and were usually unemployed.

A year after the uprising, Tunisia has elected a new government but still suffers from serious unemployment and a flagging economy as tourists stay away and labor unrest strikes industries.

On Thursday, Ammar Gharsalli, a 45-year-old father of three, set himself on fire in front of the town hall in Gafsa _ a center for phosphate mining in southern Tunisia.

The unemployed man doused himself with gasoline after being denied access to a visiting delegation of government ministers. He is in critical condition and being treated at the Ben Arous burns center near the capital.

Bouhli, who suffers from third degree burns, has also been transferred there, said Khemiri, who added that he had a psychiatric file at the hospital.