• World History

13 People Who Literally Set Themselves On Fire In Protest

People have found many dramatic ways to protest throughout history, but one of the most extreme is definitely by self-immolation, or setting oneself on fire. People have used this technique out of desperation to protest events as large and terrifying as wars and occupation, and as personal and seemingly insignificant as tax disputes. While some of these deaths shook nations to their core, all were tragic. 

Suicide by burning is not always chosen for political reasons. Sometimes it is a spiritual undertaking, or a last-ditch effort on the part of a desperate soul to draw attention to something important which they feel will not get the attention it deserves in any other way. Many believe that this profound and terrible act was even used by the Chinese government to turn their populace against one another. 

From the burning monk to the pious self-burners of old-world Russia to the Swedish actor who was angry about the way his taxes were handled to the self-immolator who sparked the Arab Spring, people turn to self-immolation for a number of reasons. Read on to find out why a surprising number of people throughout history have chosen to die by fire. 

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  • Abderrazak Zorgui

    On Monday, December 24, 2018, 32-year-old journalist Abderrazak Zorgui set himself on fire - and subsequently perished - in Kasserine, Tunisia, as part of a group participating in extreme protest against economic conditions in the state. At least a dozen other protesters dispersed throughout the city, setting up blockades, lighting fires, and vandalizing property, which led to skirmishes between police and security forces against the protesters.

    The country's transition to democracy post-Arab Spring has been a rocky one, and residents of the state have faced extended bouts of unemployment, high inflation, and other difficult conditions. Zorgui's passing highlights the dissatisfaction many of the younger generation have with the Tunisian government.