Skip to main content

Egyptian man in Cairo's Tahrir Square sets himself on fire

The incident took place at the rallying point for Egypt's 2011 revolution.

A video has gone viral in Egypt that shows a man setting himself on fire Thursday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the rallying point of the country’s 2011 uprising. 

According to Al Jazeera, the man in the video is first seen filming himself and complaining of government corruption. Drenched in kerosene, he then lights himself on fire before onlookers run over to put it out. 

“People of my country, the richest country in the world, the best country in the world … it’s held by thieves,” he yells in the video. 

The man is reportedly being treated for his burns at a Cairo hospital. Citing a source from Cairo’s security directorate, Reuters reports that the man told officials at the hospital that he worked at Egypt’s Central Auditing Organization.

In a similar incident last week, a Syrian refugee in Beirut was hospitalized after setting himself on fire outside the United Nations refugee agency’s reception center in the Lebanese capital. The 58-year-old man reportedly did so because he couldn’t afford to pay for his sick daughter’s medical treatment.

Suicides by fire have become more common in the Middle East since a Tunisian street vendor’s self-immolation in December 2010 sparked mass protests in the North African country and led to uprisings across the region. 

Egypt’s own Arab Spring protests were centered in Tahrir Square, where Thursday’s incident took place. The country’s current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has faced widespread criticism for cracking down on peaceful protests and has detained thousands of political opponents since taking power in a 2013 coup. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in