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Europe’s refugee crisis

Rejected Iranian asylum seeker sets himself on fire in protests outside German government office

A 35-year-old man suffered severe burns after showing officials his rejection notice outside the Stuttgart office, police said

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 3:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 3:03am

An Iranian man set himself on fire on Tuesday at a German regional government office where he had sought help after receiving notice that his asylum request had been rejected.

The 35-year-old, who was not named by police, had approached two officials at the Goeppingen district office near Stuttgart and showed them the asylum rejection letter.

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“The officials agreed to help him. But the man became aggressive,” police said in a statement. “He took a bottle from his backpack and doused himself with the liquid,” they added. As the officials rushed to seek help, the man “went up in flames”, police said.

Another official quickly put out the flames with a cloth, but the Iranian suffered severe burns and was taken to hospital by rescue helicopter.

Some 1.2 million asylum seekers have come to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, since 2015, more than half from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Amid rising disquiet among many Germans over the huge influx, the government has been battling to reduce the number of new arrivals.