Egyptian police thwarts ninth self-immolation attempt

Security sources said one person was arrested while attempting to set himself ablaze in front of the People’s Assembly downtown Thursday.

Parliament’s security personnel arrested Saeed Abu Amany before he set himself on fire. He was turned over for prosecution, added the source.

Analysts say recent self-immolation acts in Egypt, now numbering about nine, seem to be driven by complaints similar to those that mobilized Tunisians and toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last week.

In Egypt and around the region, many complain of the soaring prices of basic goods, lack of jobs, poverty and repression by authoritarian governments.

Analysts say there is no sign yet of momentum toward a broader uprising that could overwhelm Egypt's vast security apparatus. But Tunisia's events have attracted broad attention and vigorous calls on the internet for political change.

Self-immolations have also been reported in Algeria and Mauritania.

Protests in Tunisia erupted after the suicide of vegetable trader Mohamed Bouazizi, 26, who set himself on fire on 17 December after police seized his grocery cart.

Egypt's Al-Azhar University has warned those considering such an act that suicide, for any reason, is banned in Islam.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa, saying citizens' anger had reached an "unprecedented" level, warned the region's leaders, who gathered at an Egyptian resort on Wednesday for the Arab Economic Summit, to focus attention on solving economic and political problems like those that sparked Tunisia's upheaval.

Egyptian officials have sought to play down the possibility that Tunisia's uprising is spreading.

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