An Egyptian man set himself on fire Monday outside the country's parliament, security officials said, in an apparent protest emulating the self-immolation of an unemployed Tunisian man last month that helped trigger a popular uprising. Egyptian security officials said policemen guarding the parliament building in central Cairo and motorists driving by at the time used fire extinguishers to quickly put out the blaze engulfing the man. Health Ministry spokesman Abdel-Rahman Shahine said the man was taken to the hospital with light burns, mostly to his face, neck and legs.
The officials identified the man as Abdou Abdel-Monaam Hamadah, a 48-year-old owner of a small restaurant from Qantara, an area close to the Suez Canal city of Ismailia east of Cairo. They said Hamadah was protesting a government policy preventing restaurant owners from buying cheap subsidized bread to resell to their patrons, The Associated Press informs.
As rising food prices spur social unrest in neighboring north African countries very recently, concerns that riots could spill over into Egypt remain high as inflation is expected to rise.
In January 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization, a body of the United Nations, said that food prices hit a "record high" in December 2010, topping 2008 levels when riots shook Egypt as well as other countries, Press TV reports.