A state employee tried to set himself alight in Egypt's capital on Wednesday, the latest in a series of self-immolations or attempted burnings apparently inspired by an act in Tunisia that prompted protests there.
Hazim Abdel-Fattah, 35, an employee of a state water firm, poured fuel over himself in front of the governor's office in central Cairo but people stopped him from setting himself alight, security sources said.
Analysts say several self-immolation cases or attempted acts in Egypt, now numbering about half a dozen, seem to be driven by broadly similar complaints to those that drove Tunisians to the streets and toppled their president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
(Al-Sayyed, 25, died after setting fire to himself on the top floor of a building, medical sources said.)
Arabs in Egypt and many other regional states complain of soaring prices of basic goods, a lack of jobs, poverty and repression by authoritarian governments.
Analysts say there is no sign yet of momentum building towards 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.
Abdel-Fattah is the fourth attempted self-immolation this week, in addition to three cases where Egyptians set themselves ablaze, although in one case it was not in a public place and was blamed on psychological not political issues.
Protests in Tunisia erupted after the suicide of vegetable trader Mohamed Bouazizi, 26, who set himself on fire on Dec. 17 because police seized his grocery cart.
Egypt's state-backed al-Azhar has warned those considering such an act that suicide, for any reason, is banned in Islam.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa warned the region's leaders, gathered at an Egyptian resort on Wednesday, to heed economic and political problems that sparked Tunisia's upheaval, saying Arab citizens' anger had reached an "unprecedented" level.
Egyptian officials have sought to play down the possibility of Tunisia's uprising spreading.