World, Middle East

Lebanese army vet sets self ablaze at Beirut protest

Similar act of self-immolation sparked 2011's ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings

28.03.2018
Lebanese army vet sets self ablaze at Beirut protest FILE PHOTO

BEIRUT

A Lebanese army veteran set himself ablaze during a Wednesday demonstration held in Beirut to protest legislation related to pension entitlements. 

The man, who has not been identified, reportedly set himself alight while protesting alongside dozens of other army veterans in central Beirut’s Riad al-Solh Square.

Wednesday’s demonstration was held to protest legislation passed last year that raised public-sector salaries and pensions.

The law, however, also called for the distribution of pension entitlements over a three-year period rather than in a single payout.

Army veterans complain that last year’s law gave them smaller pension increases than their civilian counterparts.

The frustrated veteran reportedly doused himself with gasoline before setting himself on fire, prompting his fellow protesters to intervene in an effort to extinguish the blaze.

He was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, although his current condition remains unclear.

For several hours on Wednesday, protesters also blocked roads leading into the capital.

Reporting by Rabei Damaj; Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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