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January 17, 2011

More Self-Immolation Attempts in Egypt

Egyptian officials say at least one more protester set himself on fire Tuesday in an apparent attempt to imitate an act in Tunisia that triggered events leading to the president's ouster.

Egyptian officials say one man set himself on fire outside of government headquarters in Cairo while another man made a self-immolation attempt in Alexandria.  News reports say in both cases, other people intervened and put out the flames.

The incidents follow self-immolation acts in Egypt, Mauritania and Algeria. The protesters appear to be copying a fatal self-immolation last month of a 26-year-old unemployed Tunisian university graduate who was angry that officials had seized merchandise he was selling on the street.

The event triggered widespread protests in Tunisia over unemployment, high food prices and the country's authoritarian government.  Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled abroad last Friday, amid calls for his resignation.

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