An elderly Polish man on Thursday (19 October) attempted self-immolation in protest against the country's right-wing government. Several leaflets were found near the Palace of Culture in Warsaw where the man poured an inflammable liquid to set himself alight, police said.
The leaflets reportedly carried statements accusing the government of violating the constitution, destroying the constitutional court and damaging the independent judicial system.
Warsaw police spokeswoman Magdalena Bieniek told AFP news agency that the incident took place around 4pm local time (3pm BST) on Thursday. The man suffered extensive burn injuries and was taken to hospital in a "serious condition", she added.
"An investigation was launched to determine his identity and motivations," Bieniek said and added that they were also trying to determine if the leaflets found at the scene belonged to the man.
"I love freedom first and that is why I decided to immolate myself and I hope that my death will shake the consciences of many people," wrote an unidentified author in the two-page leaflet. The author also accused Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the governing Law and Justice party, of "having blood on his hands".
Eyewitness Paulina Piechna-Wieckiewicz told AFP that "a speaker was broadcasting the song I Love And I Understand Freedom" by a 1990s Polish rock band "when the man tried to burn himself".
Tomasz Sybilski, a city councillor from the center-left Democratic Left Alliance party, reportedly posted a photo of the leaflet on Facebook, saying he picked it up at the site, according to RT news. The manifesto in the leaflet has gone viral and is being extensively shared online in the country.
"Many people are wiser and more famous than me, like many Polish and European institutions, and have already called out this government for various activities and these calls were invariably ignored and thrown into the mud. Probably, for what I've done, I will be pelted with mud [as well], but at least I will be in good company," a translation of the leaflet read.