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Tunisian footballer sets himself on fire in protest

A Tunisian footballer has died after setting himself on fire in a protest against the ‘police state’. 

The Guardian reports that Nizar Issaoui sustained severe burns after setting himself alight in the village of Haffouz in the central region of Kairouan earlier this week. 

The 35-year-old was taken to the specialist burns hospital in Tunis but the doctors were unable to save him, according to his brother Ryad. 

The Tunisian footballer acted after he was accused of terrorism by police officers when he complained he was unable to buy bananas for less than 10 dinars ($3.30) a kilogram. 

Issaoui played for several clubs in Tunisia from the lower divisions to the top flight, including US Monastir. He was a free agent at the time of his death. 

The footballer’s death sparked protests on the streets of Haffouz, with demonstrators throwing stones at police. 

Angry clashes were also seen at Issaoui’s funeral in his hometown on Friday. 

The Tunisian government is yet to comment about his death. 

The player’s act was similar to the protest of Mohamed Bouazizi, who also set himself alight in 2010 after the confiscation of his wares by the authorities. 

The street vendor’s death sparked a wave of demonstrations that led to the Tunisian Revolution, which in turn caused the Arab Spring uprisings. 

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