As Spain continues to struggle in the midst of a crushing financial crisis, one man apparently had enough of living without a job and set himself on fire in the middle of the street.
A 57-year old jobless man of North African descent set himself ablaze on a street in the southern Spanish port city of Malaga. The man did not survive.
Authorities in the city are currently investigating the incident, which occurred on Wednesday night. A motive has not yet been determined, but there is theory that he may have ignited his clothing accidentally with a lighter.
An unnamed hospital employee, however, said that the speed of the blaze and the seriousness of the man’s injuries suggest that he deliberately set himself on fire.
In what appears to be a copycat incident, another man in Malaga set himself on fire on Thursday.
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The 63-year old man was found with serious wounds inside his burning car parked underneath a bridge.
While police did not give any more information regarding the man, Spain’s El Mundo newspaper reported that a preliminary investigation indicated that the fire was set intentionally.
With the worsening of Spain’s financial woes and employment rising, Spanish media has reported a number of suicides by people facing money problems. Unemployment in the Iberian country now sits at around 25 percent, with discord growing among many unemployed people as well as those in the richer region of Catalonia who feel they are being unfairly taxed and targeted by Madrid.
Spain's economy has been hit hard by the collapse of the country's property market in 2008, which left ordinary Spaniards and banks struggling under the weight of toxic loans and assets. The country's government rushed to prop up its financial system, sending its debt levels higher.
To get its deficit under control, the government introduced a series of harsh austerity measures, such as spending cuts and tax rises. This has had a damping effect on the Spanish economy, pushing it into recession and driving up unemployment.
In its bid to overhaul the financial industry, Spain had to seek a €100 billion ($132.7 billion) lifeline from the 17 European Union countries to strengthen its failing banks. Some analysts said Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy acted too slowly to shore up failing banks. "Some measures, like bank restructuring, were taken too late," said Guillermo Aranda, CEO at ATL Capital investment company.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this piece.