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Man Sets Himself on Fire in Central Sydney After Standoff With Police

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Police officers near where a man set himself on fire near the Department of Immigration in Sydney on Friday. Threats of self-immolation in protest against Australia’s immigration policies are somewhat common. Credit Ollie Henderson

SYDNEY, Australia — A man set himself on fire after a standoff with the police outside the Sydney offices of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on Friday, the police said, unleashing screams and smoke, and prompting a rapid rescue by firefighters and the police.

“Police made attempts to negotiate, however the man lit himself on fire,” the police said in a statement. “Police were ready with a fire extinguisher and extinguished the man.”

The police did not identify a motive.

Officers were interviewing witnesses after the fire, which occurred just before 2 p.m. in a bustling area of central Sydney. The police said streets near the immigration office, which handles visa applications and other immigration inquiries, had been closed in the aftermath.

In the statement, the police said the man suffered “superficial burns,” but Yuko Usui, 39, who was working at the Hatch Espresso cafe nearby, described seeing lots of smoke and hearing what seemed to be a gruesome ordeal.

“I heard somebody screaming very bad for like 15 minutes,” she said.

Source: NYT > World

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