A far-left protester has been left in critical condition after setting themself on fire outside the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta on Friday afternoon. The individual, who has not been identified, reportedly doused themself in gasoline and lit a match while wearing a Palestinian flag.
The incident took place around 12:15 p.m., shocking bystanders and causing chaos in the streets. A nearby security guard immediately sprang into action, attempting to put out the flames, but unfortunately, he sustained burns on his leg and wrists in the process.
“This was likely an extreme act of political protest,” said Atlanta Police Department Chief Darin Schierbaum. “The individual that was injured was an individual that was carrying out a protest.” He added that police had taken precautionary measures and had “dedicated patrols” around the area and other locations in the city to ensure the safety of the public.
The person who set themself on fire was quickly rushed to the hospital in critical condition, suffering from “full-thickness burns all over” their body, according to WSB-TV. The scene was described as chaotic and distressing by witnesses, with many expressing shock and disbelief at the act of self-immolation.
A protestor wrapped in a Palestinian flag set themselves on fire with gasoline outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, GA, today.
A security guard attempted to stop the person but was unsuccessful. This is an extreme act of political protest, and it’s only getting worse. pic.twitter.com/4vfqJjPmRv
— 🇺🇸 Larry 🇺🇸 (@LarryDJonesJr) December 1, 2023
Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States, Anat Sultan-Dadon, released a statement expressing her sadness and condemning the act of violence. “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.” The statement went on to express concern for the injured security guard, saying, “Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act.”
The Israeli consulate also thanked the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for their prompt and effective response to the incident. The consulate emphasized that the sanctity of life is their highest value and reiterated their commitment to promoting peaceful dialogue and understanding.
The incident has sparked debates and discussions about political protest and the escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine. Some are calling for more measures to address the underlying issues and promote peace, while others are questioning the effectiveness and ethics of extreme forms of protest.
As the investigation into the incident continues, the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta remains open but has increased security measures. The city of Atlanta has also enhanced security in other locations to ensure the safety of the public. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of peaceful and respectful dialogue in addressing political issues.