Man burns himself outside Belarus govt.'s Headquarter


Minsk, Belarus
Photo: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

A 35-year-old man in Belarus set himself on fire right outside the government headquarters in Minsk on Friday and was immediately hospitalized after passers-by and police saw him and put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, said police.

In video footage that has been circulating online, the man could be seen on fire on a largely empty square in the center of Minsk near a statue of Lenin.

Several people could be seen rushing towards him to try to put out the flames.

The motives for the man’s action were not clear and investigators were working to establish the background, the Belarusian Investigative Committee told in a statement.

The statement said the man had drenched himself with some liquid before setting himself ablaze.

Belarus has been facing huge protests since a presidential election last year which according to the opposition was rigged in favor of the incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko. However, he denies all the allegations of vote-rigging.

More than 30,000 protesters have been arrested, many killed, and hundreds injured in the demonstrations till now.

The leader, who has been in power since 1994, said last month that the country would hold a referendum on his suggested constitutional reforms that could clip presidential powers. But he did not specify the exact timing of the polls.

Lukashenko’s political opponents, most of whom have been jailed or fled the country, have dismissed the reform proposals saying it as a stalling tactic to help him get away from the protests.

The alleged vote-rigging and the government's behavior towards Belarusian protesters have obliged the United States and the European Union to sanction the country’s officials.

Publish : 2021-01-22 19:36:00

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