Adel Khazri, the 27 year-old Tunisian man who set himself on fire yesterday in downtown Tunis, died this morning in the regional Hospital of Injuries and Severe Burns in Ben Arous, a southern suburb of Tunis.
Khazri was a poor street hawker, who sold cigarettes and was originally from the northwestern governorate of Jendouba.
According to a witness, the young man stood at the top of the stairs leading to the Municipal Theater, which overlooks Habib Bourguiba Avenue, and exclaimed, “This is the youth, this is joblessness.” He then took a cigarette lighter and lit himself on fire after having douzed himself with gasoline.
Khazri’s aunt told Wataniya TV channel yesterday that Khazri immolated himself because of police harassment.
Tunisian police has recently launched a campaign against street vendors, whose numbers have risen, especially after the 2011 revolution. Khazri was affected by such a campaign as he was prevented by local authorities from selling cigarettes in the street.
Khazri consequently chose self-immolation as the means to express his frustration and grievances with police harassment.
Over a hundred protesters gathered this morning to demand a solution to the problem of illegal street vending and legal space to be designated for street peddlers like Khazri.