An Egyptian man set himself on fire in front of the Egyptian Parliament early Monday morning, attracting the whole world’s attention again to the region that is suffering from unrest and riots recently.
Abdo Abdel Hameed, the owner of a restaurant in Qantara near the Suez Canal city Ismailia, poured a container of petrol on himself before lighting a match to his clothes, reported Al Masry Al Youm Newspaper on its website.
The man was then sent to a hospital. According to the Ministry of Health spokesperson Abdul Rahman Shahen, 30 percent of his body was burnt, but he is in a stable condition.
The man burnt himself after being refused to talk with the speaker of the parliament about unfairness about the bread quota he could get for his restaurant, one of his friends said.
Meanwhile, a Mauritania man set himself on fire in front of the country’s presidential palace. The man who is described as a 40- year-old entrepreneur from a wealthy family, was protesting against the government’s mistreatment of his tribe, according to media reports.
Algeria has also reported cases of self-immolation in seven towns since Saturday, two of them on Monday.
A 26-year-old Tunisian set himself on fire when police prevented him from selling fruits and vegetables to make a living despite his college degree, after that, Tunisia has witnessed popular protests for one month before their president fled to Saudi Arabia after ruling for 23 years.
“When people set themselves on fire, they do it out of total despair because they cannot survive anymore,” said Madiha el-Safty, a sociology professor at the American University in Cairo.
She added that if a large number of people start to do similar acts then it would turn into a trend for protests.
Like Tunisia, many Arab countries are suffering from high unemployment, high fluctuations in the commodity prices, among other things.
A joint study by the Arab League (AL) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) submitted to the Arab summit held in 2009 indicated that young people in most Arab countries constitute 50 percent of the unemployed, the highest rate in the world.
Former European Commission President Romano Prodi said Egypt may be vulnerable to an uprising similar to Tunisia after street protests threw that country’s government into disarray, reported the Egyptian Masry Al Youm newspaper on its website.