October 18, 2012 / 4:22 PM / 7 years ago

Man sets himself on fire outside Italy president's palace

ROME (Reuters) - A man who had lost his job and feared he could no longer support his family doused himself in alcohol and set himself on fire in front of the presidential palace in Italy on Thursday.

The 55-year-old Romanian severely burned his legs and torso, but does not have life-threatening injuries, police said.

A police officer burned his hand trying to put out the flames in the incident in Rome outside the 16th century palace, which serves as residence and office for Italy’s head of state, Giorgio Napolitano.

The Romanian, who lives in the northwest Italian region of Piedmont, had recently lost his job as a truck driver and was struggling to take care of his wife and baby girl, Italian media reported.

The country’s year-long recession has been worsened by tax rises and pension cuts introduced by Mario Monti’s government to try to help rein in the massive public debt. Unemployment is at its highest level since monthly records began in 2004.

A wave of highly publicised suicides linked to financial woes this year has highlighted the human cost of the crisis.

In August, a man set himself on fire in front of the Italian parliament after battling unemployment, and died a week later.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Pravin Char

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