Prague man sets himself on fire in Wenceslas Square

Prague man sets himself on fire in square
Police investigate the scene where a 54-year-old man set himself on fire at Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday. (Martin Divisek/EPA-EFE photo)

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (UPI) — A man set himself on fire Friday in Prague during an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of a student’s self-immolation in protest of a Soviet invasion, Czech police said.

The 54-year-old man set himself afire in Wenceslas Square after dousing himself with a flammable liquid, police tweeted. Witnesses put out the fire and called for medical assistance.

Radio Prague reported the man had burns over 30 percent of his body and doctors put him into an induced coma.

Though the motive for the incident was unclear, it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the day Jan Palach killed himself by setting himself on fire in the same square. The 21-year-old was protesting the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia that crushed the Prague Spring reform movement.

The anniversary of Palach’s death is observed in Wenceslas Square with a wreath-laying ceremony. In 1990, his remains were reburied in a Prague cemetery reserved for prominent Czechs.

Reporting by Danielle Haynes

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