Man Honors Protester by Setting Fire to Himself

Czech man commemorates one immolation with another
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2013 2:02 PM CST
A man sets himself ablaze in Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday afternoon, Jan. 20, 2013.    (AP Photo/CTK, Marion Collinson)

(Newser) – A man set himself on fire in Prague today, apparently to commemorate a student who died by self-immolation there some 44 years ago, Reuters reports. Today's incident occurred in front of the National Museum in Wenceslas Square, where a Czech 36-year-old set fire to his jacket and had it quickly doused with snow by police officers. Student Jan Palach immolated himself nearby with flammable liquid on January 16, 1969, to protest the Soviet invasion of former Czechoslovakia.

Palach died three days later, but today's activist suffered only finger burns. "In all likelihood the man did not want to commit suicide," said a police spokeswoman. "He said it was only a remembrance to Jan Palach." (Read more Prague stories.)

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