“Footballer Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in Protest Against Police Mistreatment in Tunisia”

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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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