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An Albanian man became the second human torch this week in the escalating row over compensation between the government and victims of the Communist regime.
Lirak Bejko, 47, was taken to hospital with severe burns after he set himself on fire in a bid to get the government to speed up payouts to ex-political prisoners.
Television footage broadcast across Albania show Mr Bejko pouring petrol over his body and setting himself on fire before policemen intervene.
Protest: Former political prisoner Lirak Bejko, becomes a human torch in the Albanian capital of Tirana
Gjergj Ndreca, 53, who set himself on fire Monday, is now in stable condition whilst Mr Bejko’s situation remains critical.
The pair are part of a group of 20 men demanding that the government pay compensation for the torment they endured in communist-era prisons in Albania.
The men have been on hunger strike for 19 days, but had vowed to burn each other in sacrifice for their cause if the government ignored them
Not until the dramatic images of men engulfed in flames were broadcast across the country did Prime Minister Sali Berisha respond to their cause.
Heat: A television team from private station News 24 captured Mr Bejko as he set himself alight and quickly became engulfed in flames
Man on fire: Mr Bejko was taken to hospital where he is being treated for severe burns alongside a fellow protestor who also set fire to himself on Monday
Human torch: Lirak Bejko, pictured in September, at the beginning of the hunger strike
Mr Berisha said he was deeply concerned for the injured but denied claims that he was ignoring the plight of former political prisoners, arguing that his conservative government had taken several initiatives to compensate them.
Mr Berisha’s party, the Democratic Party of Albania, was the first opposition party to form after the communist regime opened up the political sphere.
They gained a massive following as a result of their promise compensate political prisoners, a promise which they have yet to keep 22 years later.
Prime Minister Berisha added that police officers in charge of monitoring the strikers would be held accountable for Wednesday's incident, but did not elaborate further.
Police say they have stepped up efforts to monitor the men on hunger strike, and have seized flammable materials from the site in the Albanian capital of Tirana.
The protesters want the government to honour an earlier promise to pay victims of the former regime 2,000 leks (£11.53) for each day they were imprisoned.
The Albanian government is led by an anti-communist says it has already started overcome the payment delays.
About 100,000 Albanians were executed, imprisoned or sent to labour camps by the communist regime between 1944 and 1990.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2215878/Lirak-Bejko-Albanian-protester-human-torch-row-government-compensation.html#ixzz28zLxs79y
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