Protester critically injured in self-immolation act outside Israeli consulate in Atlanta

Palestinian flag found at scene of what authorities describe as act of 'extreme political protest'

The protester set up outside a building in the city's Midtown neighbourhood on Friday afternoon and used petrol as an accelerant, authorities said. Bloomberg
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A protester was in a critical condition on Friday after engaging in an apparent self-immolation act outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, authorities said.

A security guard who tried to intervene was also injured by the flames and both were taken to hospital, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities have not released the protester's name, age or gender.

A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference.

He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.

“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.”

The protester set up outside the building in the city's Midtown neighbourhood on Friday afternoon and used petrol as an accelerant, authorities said.

Chief Schierbaum said police were aware of heightened tension in the Jewish and Muslim communities and have stepped up patrols at certain locations, including the consulate.

“We continue to ensure that everyone is protected in Atlanta, Georgia, regardless of your religion, regardless of your heritage, regardless of your nationality," he added.

The incident occurred after a truce expired between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. More than 170 people have been killed in the enclave in the hours since.

Israel began an intense bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza after Hamas, which rules the enclave, carried out an attack that killed about 1,200 people.

The siege of Gaza has resulted in about 15,000 deaths, according to local tallies, and has caused a spiralling humanitarian crisis.

Calls for a ceasefire have been growing around the world, including the US. Earlier this month, tens of thousands took to the streets of Washington demanding a ceasefire and for the end of US military aid to Israel.

A number of members of Congress have also joined the calls for an end to the violence, with Senator Peter Welch of Vermont becoming the latest politician to urge a ceasefire.

Updated: December 02, 2023, 11:05 AM