MOSCOW – A man doused himself with flammable liquids and set himself on fire on Red Square Sunday before dozens of shocked tourists, Russian news reports and witnesses said.
The man made no statements or gestures before the incident, which occurred around 4 p.m. in front of St. Basil's Cathedral, Russian news agencies said, citing police sources. Police extinguished the flames just moments after he set himself ablaze.
Several minutes after the incident, witnesses said the man was lying on the ground face down, surrounded by metal police gates. He appeared to be alive, moving his legs as a police officer administered first aid. Police cars ordered tourists back from the scene.
ITAR-Tass and RIA-Novosti cited paramedics as saying that he was hospitalized in critical condition and that police were trying to identify him.
City police officials could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.
Security has been tightened around Red Square in recent years, with much of the famous cobblestone area routinely blocked off by guards and police, and tourists having to pass through metal detectors.
However the area immediately in front of St. Basil's Cathedral, renowned for its brightly colored cupola domes, is relatively open to tourists.