Thousands of protesters are expected to rally on Washington streets on Friday, the day president-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office. Yet a Washington man protested the inauguration in a less usual way on Tuesday night. He lit himself on fire in front of the Trump International Hotel.
The protester landed in a hospital with severe burns but his condition is not critical, authorities said. D.C. fire officials said the man set himself ablaze on Tuesday, around 9:20 p.m. local time. The police couldn’t tell if the man wanted to harm himself or he planned just to protest.
Man Sets Himself on Fire in Protest
Early on Tuesday night, a crowd of anti-Trump protesters rallied outside his luxury hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is very near to the Capitol Hill and the White House, to protest his inauguration. An unidentified protester nearly set himself on fire at the protest. Fortunately, fire crews were able to put the fire out and save his life. The man was able to lit only his clothes on fire before the intervention.
I was trying to light myself on fire as an act of protest,
the protester told NBC 4 Washington.
He added Trump was not fit to run the country because he is “completely incapable” of abiding by the U.S. Constitution. According to several media reports, the fire department is conducting a separate probe into the incident. On Tuesday, the department couldn’t tell whether the man set himself on fire or something else caused the fire.
According to Washington Post, 10 percent of the protester’s body was affected by third-degree burns. He reportedly told authorities that he set himself on fire on purpose. His motives were initially unclear.
Fire dept puts out fire where man self immolation in front of Trump Hotel DC. He put fire out himself before walking to police. pic.twitter.com/10g5SKXiUJ
— Michael Shoag (@MikeShoag) January 18, 2017
Self-Immolation A Dramatic Form of Protest
Political protesters resort to self-immolation to make their voice heard all over the world. The practice is very common in Tibet where people protest the Chinese government. In the last eight years, at least 100 Tibetans have resorted to the desperate tactic.
However, in the Western world, the practice is much rarer. In 2014, a retired U.S. pastor in Texas doused himself to death to protest the death penalty and his church policies. Several bystanders put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, but the 79-year-old man died at the hospital later that day. In 2011, a New Hampshire man protested a family court decision against him by setting himself on fire. Authorities pronounced him dead at the scene.
Authorities expect other violent protests to occur this weekend after Trump takes the oath of office. Local authorities said they granted permits to more than two dozen protest groups for the Friday event. They noted the number is four times as much as the average number of protesters of past inaugurations.
The National Park Service expects up to 400,000 people to flood the nation’s capital in the coming days. About half of these protesters will take part in the Women’s March, a rally human rights activists have planned for Saturday.
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