Tunis, Tunisia - Apparently fed up 'with life', a 27-year-old Tunisian, Adel Khédhiri, set himself on fire Tuesday morning in central Tunis, causing panic among bystanders, according to eyewitnesses.
A lady present at the scene said the young man, a street cigarette vendor, had poured gasoline on his body before setting himself on fire.
'Look, this Tunisian youth is facing unemployment. Reduced to selling cigarettes,' he shouted at the crowd in front of the Municipal Theatre of Tunis, on the Bourguiba Avenue, Tunis' major street.
Seriously burnt, Khedhiri was quickly rescued by passers-by, one of whom wrapped him in a jacket before firemen arrived at the scene, PANA reported.
He was taken unconscious to the Ben Arous Burn Care Centre, about 10 kilometres away from Tunis.
'He had 90% burn and the young man is currently in a comatose state,' Imed Touibi, director of the centre, told PANA.
Khédhiri is a native of Jendouba, an impoverished town located northwest of Tunisia.
The incident reminded Tunisians of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor of fruits and vegetables in Sidi Bouzid (center-west), whose self immolation on 17 December, 2010, triggered the uprising, commonly called the “Arab Spring” that echoed across the Arab world and led to the fall of dictatorial regime of former President Ben Ali.
More than two years after the 'Jasmine Revolution', Tunisia continues to be shaken by social unrest, particularly in the country’s poorer regions in protest against the deterioration in the living conditions of the people.
In November last year, rioting left over 300 injured in Siliana in the northwest of the country.