BEIRUT

Middle East

Man self-immolates at Israel cost-of-living protest

People try to extinguish the fire after a man set himself alight in Tel Aviv, Israel on Saturday, July 14, 2012 during rally marking the anniversary of a wave of demonstrations that swept the country to protest the high cost of living and other social issues. He was later rushed to a hospital where he is being treated for serious burns, police said. (AP Photo/Ben Kelmer)

TEL AVIV: A man sustained serious burns after he poured flammable liquid on himself and lit it, said police, at a protest on Saturday in Tel Aviv against the economic policies of Israel's conservative government.

"From what I understand, he claimed money had been taken from him. Obviously he did it for financial reasons, though further details are not yet clear," said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. He said the man was aged around 40.

The Tel Aviv demonstration marked the anniversary of the erection of a student-led squatter camp in Israel's economic hub which was followed by a string of wider public campaigns against the cost of living in the country.

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded with initiatives meant to ease the burden on Israel's middle class, such as cheaper housing and more extensively subsidised education, some protestors complain of government foot-dragging.

Rosenfeld said a few thousand people had turned out for Saturday's demonstration, compared to the hundreds of thousands who attended some of the biggest protests last year.

 

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