You can see his friend starting the fire at 00:39, and another striker collapses at 01:55. The protesters were having a hunger strike and promised on TV to burn each other in sacrifice. In fact, this one was stopped by the police and other people before he could set himself on fire, but got help from a fellow striker with whom he had previously agreed, and who is now arrested and charged of attempted murder and arson.The government led by the party that went against the communist regime with the help of dissidents and won by promising to compensate the political prisoners has failed to keep that word after 22 years.
The American flag that you see on the man's head symbolizes the request for help that the strikers made to the US Embassy to Tirana, and also the movement that brought down the communist regime. Students held a hunger strike against the communist regime in 1992, and they kept American flags when the communist Government had been using propaganda against
the Americans for half a century. These were the people who tried to start that protest in 1990, and who brought this political to power, and the flag is for reminding that to the government.
Albanians have a blind trust to America and when their government does nothing, they use to ask to the US embassy for support. The strikers appealed the US Ambassador to Tirana, Alexander Arvizu, and he visited them at the strike and gave his support a few days ago by talking exactly with the man who set himself on fire today. After the incident, the US Ambassador visited them again and tried to convince them that these extreme measures are useless.
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