CAIRO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - An Egyptian man set himself on fire on Monday near parliament in an apparent protest against poor living standards, a witness and officials said, echoing a self-immolation that spurred demonstrations in Tunisia.
A witness, who worked in parliament, said the man poured fuel over himself and then set himself alight when people tried to approach him. The flames were put out and he was taken to hospital, the witness said.
A Interior Ministry source said the man was a small restaurant owner protesting about his poor living standards. Another security source said his wounds were mainly to his hands and face, although the severity was not immediately clear.
The protests that brought down Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali erupted after the self-immolation of 26-year-old vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire on Dec. 17 because police seized his vegetable cart.
Bouazizi died weeks later of his burns, becoming a martyr to crowds of students and the unemployed protesting against poor living conditions. The demonstrations have stunned ordinary Arabs with images of an autocrat being toppled.
Egypt’s independent Al-Masry Al-Youm cited one witness on its website as saying the Egyptian man chanted slogans against the state security apparatus before the act of self-immolation.
A Cairo hospital administration source said a man had been brought into the hospital with burns.
Analysts, opposition figures and ordinary people say the Tunisian revolt may prove contagious. Like Tunisians, many Arabs are frustrated by soaring prices, poverty, high unemployment, a bulging population and systems of rule that ignore their voices. [ID:nLDE70F07V] (Reporting by Mohamed Abdellah, Dina Zayed and Sarah Mikhail, Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)