Nizar Issaoui, a 35-year-old Tunisian footballer, died after setting himself on fire to protest against alleged police mistreatment in central Tunisia.
Issaoui, a former player for United States Monastir, posted a video on Facebook accusing police of falsely accusing him of terrorism after he raised concerns about the price of bananas in his hometown of Hafouz, Kairouan.
Issaoui suffered severe burns and was taken to the hospital, but he did not survive. His death sparked clashes between police and angry protesters in Hafouz. Witnesses reported that police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who had gathered outside the police headquarters.
Issaoui’s tragic death is reminiscent of the incident that sparked the 2010 Arab Spring protests in Tunisia.
That incident involved a street vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire in protest after police confiscated his fruit cart in Sidi Bouzid. Bouazizi’s death led to widespread protests that ultimately resulted in the overthrow of then-President Ben Ali and inspired rebellions across the Middle East.
Issaoui’s death is a tragic reminder of the continued struggle for justice and human rights in Tunisia and beyond. It also underscores the power of social media as a platform for citizen journalism and activism.
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