Tunisian footballer dies after setting himself on fire in protest


A professional footballer in Tunisia, a country in North Africa, has died after setting himself on fire in a protest against the “police state” ruling the country, according to reports.

Nizar Issaoui, 35, a professional Tunisian footballer suffered third-degree burns due to his action. Subsequently, he was taken to the specialist in Kairouan, a city in northern Tunisia’s inland desert. According to his brother Ryad, he suffered injuries from the fire. Later on, he was taken to the specialist burns hospital in Tunis, the capital and largest city of Tunisia. However, the doctors could not save his life.

Before burning himself, the footballer published a video on Facebook to talk about the reason for his protest. He alleged that the reason for his protest was being falsely accused of “terrorism” in the village of Haffouz in the central region of Kairouan. In his football career, he played for a range of clubs, including top-flight side US Monastir.

Before setting himself on fire, he wrote on Facebook, “I have no more energy. Let the police know that the sentence will be executed today.”

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His death led to protests on the streets of Haffouz. Protesters threw stones at police. Later on, the police fired tear gas at protesters.

According to Tunisian media, he was charged with “terrorism” after he complained to officers that he was unable to buy bananas for less than 10 dinars ($3.3) a kg, double the price set by the government of Tunisia. At that time, a video of the footballer went viral on social media. In the video, he screamed, “For a dispute with someone selling bananas at 10 dinars, I get accused of terrorism at the police station. Terrorism for a complaint about bananas.”

In 2010, a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi burned himself to death. The incident sparked the Tunisian revolution that was the trigger for the Arab Spring uprisings.



Raven Ruma is a professional journalist with a keen eye on domestic and foreign situations. His favorite pastime is to keep the public informed about the current situation through his pen and he is fulfilling this responsibility through the platform of Arab News.

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