Immolation ahead of Tunisia protest


Tunisian police used teargas to disperse protesters blocking roads in Jelma on Saturday following the death of a young man who burned himself to death, witnesses said.

Abdelwahed Hablani (25) set himself on fire and died in hospital in protest at poverty and poor living conditions, echoing the 2010 self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, whose death triggered the Arab Spring.

Protesters burnt tyres before police intervened to reopen roads, firing teargas, the witnesses said. Demonstrations continued late Saturday.

Hablani had occasional work as a casual labourer in Jelma, near Bouazizi’s home city Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia’s deeply impoverished interior. He was buried on Saturday.

Since Bouazizi’s death in December 2010, numerous young men followed his example and set themselves alight in the face of Tunisia’s chronic economic difficulties.

Mass protests after Bouazizi’s funeral resulted in the January 2011 revolution that pushed veteran autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who died in exile in Saudi Arabia in September, from power and introduced democracy.