A Czech man set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square today, just days after the anniversary of student Jan Palach’s immolation in 1969 to protest at the occupation of Czechoslovakia, police said.
“The man born in 1964 set himself on fire around 3 pm using a flammable substance,” Prague police said on Twitter, adding that passersby put out the flames.
The flames were doused by passersby. He was taken to hospital minutes later.
According to a witness, the man stood in front of St. Wenceslas statue with a sign with some inscriptions. According to early reports, the man suffered burns to 30 percent of his body.
“In all likelihood the man did not want to commit suicide,” Prague’s police spokeswoman Eva Kropacova said. “He said it was a remembrance to Jan Palach.”
January 19th 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of student Jan Palach’s death after self-immolation to protest about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. About half-past one on January 16th, Jan Palach doused himself in petrol and set himself on fire near the fountain at the National Museum in Wenceslas Square in Prague. After several minutes, those passing managed to extinguish the living torch.
The seriously burnt student was taken to the Faculty Hospital in Vinohrady. He died three days later, on 19 January 1969.