Sixth man sets himself on fire in Bulgarian poverty protest

SOFIA Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:01pm GMT

Bulgarian protesters shout slogans as they ride a truck during a rally in central Sofia, March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Bulgarian protesters shout slogans as they ride a truck during a rally in central Sofia, March 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

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SOFIA (Reuters) - A 41-year-old man set himself on fire in Bulgaria on Wednesday, becoming the sixth person to protest in this way against the poverty and suspected corruption that has brought down the government.

National radio BNR did not name the man from a village near the Danube River town of Silistra but said he was jobless, had one child and had been moved to a hospital in the Black Sea city of Varna, where he was in a critical condition.

Widespread protests last month over low incomes and a political elite accused of maintaining a corrupt system since the collapse of communism in 1989 forced the resignation of the center-right cabinet headed by Boiko Borisov.

The size of demonstrations in the European Union's poorest member have since fallen off but could flare up again as an election approaches in May.

People in the country of 7.3 million earn an average monthly wage of 400 euros (340.6 pounds) and pensions of less than half that.

"I am fed up, there is no bread and I cannot stand it anymore," the man told doctors at his local hospital, the radio quoted Daniela Kostadinova, the head of the hospital in Silistra as saying.

The latest self-immolation happened only two days after a 59-year-old man set himself on fire in protest in the western town of Bobovdol.

Three men have died after setting themselves on fire and the others remain in a serious condition in hospital.

Last week, interim Prime Minister Marin Raikov pledged to improve the incomes of pensioners and the poorest while maintaining a strict fiscal policy.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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