Riyadh: A Saudi man died after setting
himself on fire in the southwestern town of Samta, local media
said today, in what could be the latest example of a rash of
self-immolations sweeping the region following events in
It would be oil-rich Saudi Arabia`s first such incident
since an unemployed man set himself on fire in Tunisia last
month protesting the economy and sparking riots which brought
down the government.
Since that time there have been a wave of copycat
immolations across the region, though with few fatalities.
Civil defense spokesman Capt Yahia al-Qahtani said in a
statement carried by Saudi newspapers that the man, in his
sixties, set himself on fire yesterday and died in the
No name or motive was given.
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheik Abdel Aziz Al Sheikh on Thursday
condemned suicide even in response to harsh living conditions.
In Egypt, a 25-year-old unemployed man died in a
hospital on Tuesday after setting himself on fire in the
Egyptian port city of Alexandria, while three others in Cairo
also attempted to set themselves on fire, but survived.
Protesters in Mauritania and Algeria have also set
themselves alight in apparent attempts to copy Tunisian
Mohammed Bouazizi, 26, whose self-immolation helped inspire
the protests that toppled Tunisia`s authoritarian president.
These incidents, though isolated, reflect the growing
despair among much of the Arab public which has no real means
of expressing its dissatisfaction. They are deeply symbolic
means of protest in a region that has little or no tolerance