Man tries to set himself on fire at Algeria protest

Sun Feb 6, 2011 2:12pm GMT

By Christian Lowe

ALGIERS (Reuters) - An Algerian man doused himself with fuel and tried to set himself on fire on Sunday during a small protest outside a government ministry in the capital to demand more jobs.

Algerian opposition groups, inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, say they will force the government to quit, but analysts say a revolt is unlikely because officials can use revenue from energy exports to soothe most grievances.

During the protest outside the employment ministry building involving about 30 people, a man arrived, poured fuel over himself from a jerry can and then tried to ignite it with a cigarette lighter.

A journalist standing nearby wrestled the man to the floor before he could set fire to himself, said a Reuters cameraman who was at the protest. The man was later escorted inside the ministry building by police.

A wave of protests in neighbouring Tunisia which forced out President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last month was started by a young unemployed man setting himself on fire in an act of protest at his treatment by the authorities.

Since then, there has been a series of self-immolations around the Arab world, including several in Algeria.


According to official figures, Algeria's unemployment rate is around 10 percent, while joblessness among the young is more than twice that figure.   Continued...

<p>Policemen try to calm down a man (C) who tried to set himself on fire during a small protest held by unemployed people outside the employment ministry building in Algiers February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra</p>
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