A professional footballer in Tunisia has died after setting himself on fire earlier this week in what he said was a protest against the “police state” ruling the country, his brother said Friday, April 14.
According to Tunisian media, Issaoui decided to make his extreme protest against the police after officers accused him of “terrorism” when he complained that he was unable to buy bananas for less than 10 dinars ($3.3) a kilogramme, double the price set by the government.
A video selfie circulating on social media shows Issaoui screaming: “For a dispute with someone selling bananas at 10 dinars, I get accused of terrorism at the police station. Terrorism for a complaint about bananas.”
Nizar Issaoui, 35, suffered third-degree burns from his action in the village of Haffouz in the central region of Kairouan, his brother Ryad told reporters.
He was taken from hospital in Kairouan to the specialist burns hospital in Tunis but doctors were unable to save his life.
“He died yesterday (Thursday) and will be buried today.” Ryad said
Issaoui’s protest recalled that of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, who burned himself to death on December 17, 2010, sparking the Tunisian revolution that was the trigger for the Arab Spring uprisings.
News of Issaoui’s death sparked protests on the streets of Haffouz on Thursday evening, Tunisian media reported.
Young demonstrators hurled stones at police who responded with tear gas.
As at his death, Issaoui was a free agent. His career saw him play for a range of clubs from the lower divisions to the top flight.
In a Facebook post shortly before his fatal action, Issaoui said he had sentenced himself to “death by fire.”
“I have no more energy. Let the police state know that the sentence will be executed today,” he wrote.
Watch the video below
Un footballeur tunisien s’immole par le feu devant un poste de police— Baben Soro 🇬🇳 (@BabenSoro) April 11, 2023
Arrivé au commissariat de police pour porter plainte contre un marchand de fruits, Nizar Issaoui s'est vu accusé d’être impliqué dans une affaire terroriste. Il s’est alors imbibé d’essence et s'est mis le feu pic.twitter.com/SoJVfaQjdu
Warning ⚠️ graphic footage 🚫— Souhail Khmira (@SKhmira) April 10, 2023
Tunisian Ex-footballer Nizar Issaoui set himself on fire outside a police station in Haffouz, Kairouane when he found himself with terrorism charges after a dispute with a fruit seller.
He suffered severe burns but is stable#Tunisia pic.twitter.com/5V7LorL9St