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19 Apr, 2024 18:07

Man sets himself on fire outside Trump trial (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

The individual collapsed to the ground before police officers extinguished the flames
Man sets himself on fire outside Trump trial (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

A man has set himself on fire outside the ‘hush money’ trial of former US President Donald Trump in New York City. The flames were eventually extinguished, but it remains unclear whether the man died from his injuries.

The dramatic incident occurred on Friday afternoon, shortly after final jury selections were made and the panel was seated.

Video footage shows the man engulfed in flames, kneeling upright with his hands behind his head. After burning for around a minute, the visibly charred man collapsed to the ground and the burning remains were extinguished by police officers.

The incident was broadcast live by several US news networks, including Fox and CNN. As Fox reporters realized what was happening, one could be heard telling his colleagues to search their truck for a fire extinguisher.

After putting out the fire, police officers covered the man’s body with fire blankets before he was loaded into an ambulance. It is unclear whether he survived.

Witnesses told CNN that he had scattered pamphlets before dousing himself in gasoline and lighting a match. The New York Police Department told reporters that officers are “still gathering information” on what happened.

The pamphlets included a link to a Substack account, on which the man identified himself as Max Azzarello, "an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan." In a rambling manifesto, Azzarello said that this "extreme act of protest" was intended to draw attention to an "apocalyptic fascist world coup."

Warning: extremely graphic content:

The incident occurred on the fourth day of Trump’s criminal trial. The former president is accused of misreporting so-called ‘hush-money’ payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, although he insists the trial is “political persecution” orchestrated by President Joe Biden to take him out of contention before November’s presidential election. 

Presiding over the case is Judge Juan Merchan, who has refused to recuse himself despite his daughter working for a marketing firm representing several top Democrats. Merchan issued a gag order against Trump last month, forbidding the former president from criticizing the prosecution.

The incident occurs less than two months after an active-duty US Air Force member died by self immolation outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, protesting against military support for Israel. The man, 25-year-old airman Aaron Bushnell, shouted “free Palestine!” as he burned to death.

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