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Man sets himself on fire at Amsterdam Dam Square

Update: The man who burned himself has died.


DutchAmsterdam.nl — A man tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire in front of the National Monument at Amsterdam’s Dam Square early Wednesday afternoon.

Eyewitnesses have told police the man first quarreled with English-speaking tourist, and then warned people around him before using a lighter to set himself alight at 12:30 pm. The man reportedly first doused his clothes with a flammable liquid. But a spokesperson for the police says he apparently had rubbed his body with a flammable substance.

Bystanders used coats and bottled water in an attempt to extinguish the flames engulfing the victim. Emergency services arrived quickly and doused the fire. The man, who was on fire for at least two minutes, was first taken to a local hospital and was then moved to the Burns Treatment Centre in Beverwijk.

Witnesses say the man, who spoke with a foreign accent, talked about his children and appeared to be disturbed.

Police say the motive behind his deed is not yet known, but are treating the case as an attempted suicide.

Local TV station AT5 placed shocking video on its website:

Warning: shocking video

The Dam is Amsterdam’s best known square. As the site of the Royal Palace, Dam square often is the focus of events of national importance — as in the annual Remembrance Day (May 4) ceremonies which take place at the National Monument, commemorating those who died during the Second World War.

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This post was last updated: Sep. 11, 2011