A 54-year-old man doused himself with a flammable liquid and lit himself on fire near the equestrian statue atop Prague’s Wenceslas Square at around 15:00 on Friday afternoon.
Initial reports from Czech Police state that the flames were put out by onlookers, who retrieved fire extinguishers from nearby businesses.
According to Emergency Medical Service Prague (ZZS HMP) spokesperson Jana Poštová, the man received burns to 30% of his body and has been placed in an artificial coma.
He is currently under the care of doctors at Prague 2’s Fakultní nemocnice Královské Vinohrady.
“Police are examining circumstances surrounding the event, which occurred shortly after 15:00 on the upper part of Wenceslas Square,” Czech Police wrote on Twitter.
“According to initial information, the man born in 1964 doused himself with a flammable and lit it. The victim was extinguished by passers-by.”
PRAHA: Policie prověřuje okolnosti události, ke které mělo dojít krátce po 15. hodině v horní části Václavského náměstí. Podle prvotních informací se tam muž ročník 1964 polil hořlavinou a zapálil. Nešťastník byl uhašen kolemjdoucími. Policie spolupracuje s @zzshmp
— Policie ČR (@PolicieCZ) January 18, 2019
Clearly influenced by Czech martyr Jan Palach and his act of self-immolation, the act comes at the same location as Palach’s act, and almost 50 years to the day since his death.
Palach committed his protest act of self-immolation on January 16, 1969, and passed away from his burns three days later on January 19.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.
For updates (in Czech), iDnes.cz is currently streaming live from the scene of the incident.