Tamil man commits suicide at UN

16th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss police report that a protester burned himself to death outside the UN on Thursday.

GENEVA - A 26-year-old Sri Lankan protester poured gasoline over himself and burned to death outside the UN complex in Geneva, police said Saturday.

The suicide at the Place des Nations occurred Thursday evening but police did not report it immediately. Spokesman Eric Grandjean said police are still trying to identify the man.

Grandjean said the man, most likely ethnic Tamil, poured gasoline over himself and set it alight, killing himself almost instantly. A nearby police patrol saw the fire and raced to put out the flames, but could not save him, Grandjean said.

"The man was standing and was burning like a torch, then he fell down dead", he said.

Several hours earlier, about 500 Tamils demonstrated on the square to protest Sri Lanka's military action against ethnic Tamils, but they left before the suicide.

Police found a five-page letter identifying the man as a Tamil, saying he lived in Britain, and declaring that the suicide was to protest developments in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government is fighting the rebels to end their 25-year campaign for an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils, who suffered marginalisation under the country's majority ethnic Sinhalese. More than 70,000 people were killed in the violence.

The daily Tribune de Geneve said the man was named Murugathasan and was a law school graduate living in London.

[AP / Expatica]

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