Egyptian, Mauritanian set themselves on fire

In a copycat replay of Tunisia's self-immolation


A man set himself on fire outside Egypt’s parliament in Cairo, and another man torched himself in front of the presidential palace in Mauritania’s capital on Monday in an apparent copycat replay of the self-immolation of a Tunisian graduate which sparked a popular revolt.

The man in Egypt, who was identified as restaurant owner Abdo Abdelmoneim from Qantara, near the port town of Ismailiya, "stood in front the parliament building in (downtown Cairo) and set fire to his body," the official MENA agency reported.

"He was immediately taken to hospital to receive the necessary treatment," MENA added.

A parliamentary source said the man "stood outside the People's Assembly, poured fuel on himself and set himself on fire."

"A policeman who was close by managed to extinguish the fire and the man was quickly taken away by ambulance," the source added, according to AFP.

MENA said the man was driven to set himself alight because "he did not receive the bread coupons for his restaurant." It did not elaborate.

The incidents comes after 26-year-old Tunisian graduate Mohammed Bouazizi torched himself in Tunisia when police prevented him from selling fruit and vegetables to make a living.

Egyptians have often voiced similar grievances to Tunisians. They have long complained of economic hardships and Cairo has regularly come under criticism for failing to lift an emergency law in place for three decades.

The case of Bouazizi, who would later die of his wounds, unleashed a wave of protests in Tunisia that would eventually topple the 23-year-old regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In Algeria, at least four attempted public suicides -- all over jobs and housing -- were reported this week after Bouazizi's self-immolation.

Close to half of Egypt's 80 million people live below the poverty line of two dollars a day.

On Friday, dozens of Egyptians celebrated the ouster of the veteran president outside the Tunisian embassy in central Cairo.

In Mauritania, a young man with a graduate degree from France and who belongs to a wealthy family set himself on fire to protest against alleged government mistreatment of his tribe.

The family of Yacoub Ould Dahoud, 40, reportedly faced government abuse and was excluded from vital decision-making positions thought the country and from government deals with the country's tribes, according the Mauritanian's independent news agency Al-Khabar.

Dahoud's tribe demands that the government fulfill its commitments in a deal it had made with the tribe over a number health ministry posts, the agency added.

The tribe's business in agriculture and trade in marine appliances was also reportedly hard-hit by government policies.

Witnesses said Dahoud was shouting epithets against President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Opposition groups accuse Abdel Aziz's regime of cracking down on opposition voices and driving the country to uncertainty.