As protesters and organizers gear up for what is likely to be a busy weekend for the presidential inauguration in Washington D.C., one man has already started his crusade against President-elect Donald Trump, and it nearly cost him his life.
An unidentified man tried to set himself on fire outside of Trump International Hotel in Washington on Tuesday night. He succeeded in setting his clothes ablaze, but the Washington D.C. fire department was able to intervene and save his life, according to local media reports.
“I was trying to light myself on fire as an act of protest,” the man told NBC 4. “Protesting the fact that we've elected someone who is completely incapable of respecting the Constitution of the United States.”
The man told NBC 4 he is from California.
According to WJLA, the D.C. fire department is still investigating the incident after receiving reports that a man had either set himself on fire or was on fire. USA Today reports that the man was treated for serious but non-life threatening burns.
The Washington Post reports that the man has third-degree burns on 10 percent of his body and was in fact setting himself on fire, though his exact motivation was unclear.
Self-immolation, or the act of setting oneself on fire, has been a common tactic of Tibetans protesting Chinese rule in recent years, with more than 100 people burning themselves in political protest since 2009, per NPR.
In the United States, self-immolation is much rarer but still takes place occasionally. In 2014, retired United Methodist pastor killed himself because of his frustration over his church’s positions on homosexuality and race relations. In 2011, a New Hampshire father set himself on fire in front of a courthouse in protest of a ruling against him by a family court. He was pronounced dead at the scene.