A man in Munich has died after dousing himself in petrol and lighting himself on fire in what may have been done as a political protest.
The unidentified 54-year-old man committed the act of self-immolation at around 3 am Friday morning in the Marienplatz square in central Munich. Police say he drove his car to the square, approached the city hall and poured several litres of petrol on himself and ignited it Augsburger Allgemeine reports.
The man was initially found by several people walking by who managed to call the emergency services and extinguish the flames. The 54-year-old was then taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his burns around an hour later.
The car the man drove to the square was covered in various political slogans according to police. One of them said “Anis Amri is just the tip of the iceberg,” referring to the failed Tunisian asylum seeker who hijacked a lorry in December and ran it through the Berlin Christmas market killing 12 and injuring 50 others.
Recent reports have suggested that Amri was known to Berlin police who had suspected him of dealing drugs and that armed with that information they could have deported him a month before the attack took place.
Another slogan on the vehicle said, “Never again a war on German soil.” The slogans suggest that the act of suicide could have been a political protest, though police have so far refused to comment on the matter. When asked if the act was political in nature, a police spokesman replied, “our colleagues are investigating in all directions.”
Police confirmed that the man had taken his own life and said they had no other suspects in the case.
Self-immolation as a form of political protest has been obsebefore taken place in world history.
The most famous examples being Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức who set himself on fire in Vietnam in 1963 and Tunisian fruit seller Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi whose death was largely seen as the spark for the Arab spring.
Immolation has also been used as a method of attempted murder in Germany after a 45-year-old man in an asylum home in Ruedesheim attempted to kill his wife by setting her on fire. The man ended up on fire himself and later died of his injuries and injured two others in the asylum home.