List of political self-immolations

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This is a list of notable self-immolations done for political reasons. Non-political self-immolations are not included in the list. Self-immolation has become an increasingly used protest tactic among Tibetans protesting rule of Tibet by China[1] and Arabs against various Arab governments.[2]

List[edit]

1960s[edit]

Date Name Age Country Protesting Notes and references
June 11, 1963 Thich Quang DucThich Quang Duc 66 South Vietnam Persecution of Buddhists by Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam Led to several other monks and nuns committing the same act before Diem was toppled. The photo, photographed by Malcolm Browne, became well-associated with his political protest
January 25, 1964 Chinnasami India For preservation of the Tamil language Inspired 5 other self-immolations.[3]
March 16, 1965 Herz, AliceAlice Herz 82 United States Vietnam War Esperantist.
November 2, 1965 Morrison, NormanNorman Morrison 31 United States Vietnam War Committed act in front of preschool-aged daughter.[4]
November 9, 1965 LaPorte, Roger AllenRoger Allen LaPorte 22 United States Vietnam War Catholic Worker.[5]
May 16, 1967 Nhat Chi MaiNhất Chi Mai 34 South Vietnam Vietnam War [6]
October 15, 1967 Beaumont, FlorenceFlorence Beaumont 55 United States Vietnam War [7]
November 12, 1967 Chūnoshin Yui 73 Japan Vietnam War Esperantist.[8][9][10]
September 8, 1968 Siwiec, RyszardRyszard Siwiec 59 Poland Poland's participation in Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968) Died in hospital four days later.
November 5, 1968 Makukh, VasylVasyl Makukh 40 Soviet Union Soviet rule in Ukraine [11]
January 16, 1969 Palach, JanJan Palach 20 Czechoslovakia Communist rule in Czechoslovakia Student. Inspired a number of self-immolations in protest of Soviet satellite states.
January 20, 1969 Bauer, SándorSándor Bauer 17 Hungary Communist rule in Hungary [12]
February 25, 1969 Zajíc, JanJan Zajíc 19 Czechoslovakia Communist rule in Czechoslovakia Student.
April 2, 1969 Plocek, EvženEvžen Plocek 39 Czechoslovakia Communist rule in Czechoslovakia Businessman.
April 9, 1969 Rips, EliyahuEliyahu Rips 20 Soviet Union Communist rule in Czechoslovakia Survived, became professor of mathematics.
May 30, 1969 Mayrock, BruceBruce Mayrock 20 United States Genocide against Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War Columbia University student. Died in Hospital hours later.

1970s[edit]

Date Name Age Country Protesting Notes and references
February 13, 1970 Moyses, MártonMárton Moyses 28 Romania Communist rule in Romania
May 10, 1970 Winne, Jr., GeorgeGeorge Winne, Jr. 23 United States Vietnam War Student at the University of California, San Diego. Died the next day.[13]
September 19, 1970 Georgakis, KostasKostas Georgakis 22 Greece Military rule in Greece Student at the University of Genoa
September 19, 1970 Joseba Elosegi 54 Spain Bombing of Guernica in 1937 Survived
November 21, 1970 Jeon Tae-ilJeon Tae-il 22 South Korea For more robust labour laws and the government's opposition to reform
May 14, 1972 Kalanta, RomasRomas Kalanta 19 Soviet Union Communist rule in Lithuania Inspired largest post-war riots in occupied Lithuania and USSR, and 13 other self-immolations
June 6, 1972 Gaulin, HuguetteHuguette Gaulin 28 Canada [14]
August 10, 1976 Kalinauskas, AntanasAntanas Kalinauskas 19 Soviet Union Communist rule in Lithuania In Soviet Army barracks in Gulbene, Latvia. Died next day.
August 22, 1976 Brüsewitz, OskarOskar Brüsewitz 46 East Germany Communist rule in East Germany Lutheran pastor
February 10, 1977 Escoffier, AlainAlain Escoffier 27 France Communism
November 16, 1977 Gründler, HartmutHartmut Gründler 37 West Germany Atomic policy
January 21, 1978 Hirnyk, OleksaOleksa Hirnyk 65 Soviet Union Communist rule in Ukraine An act of protest against Soviet suppression of the Ukrainian language, culture and history. Died on the spot.
June 23, 1978 Mamut, MusaMusa Mamut 46 Soviet Union Persecution of Crimean Tatars Died after five days[15]

1980s[edit]

Date Name Age Country Protesting Notes and references
March 21, 1981 Arosenius, Per-AxelPer-Axel Arosenius 60 Sweden Taxes
August 10, 1982 Penik, ArtinArtin Penik 61 Turkey ASALA attack at Esenboğa International Airport
November 2, 1983 Acevedo, SebastiánSebastián Acevedo Chile Kidnapping of his children by the Chilean police during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet [16]
April 7, 1989 Cheng Nan-jungCheng Nan-jung 41 Taiwan For freedom of speech and Taiwan independence [17]
May 19, 1989 Chan I-huaChan I-hua 32 Taiwan For freedom of speech and Taiwan independence [18]
March 2, 1989 Babeş, Liviu CornelLiviu Cornel Babeş 47 Romania Communist rule in Romania [19] Set himself on fire on ski slope, died at hospital after 2 hours
March 2, 1989 Vičiulis, VytautasVytautas Vičiulis 37 Soviet Union Communist rule in Lithuania
March 24, 1989 Pawar, KailashKailash Pawar India To draw attention to plight of Bhopal gas victims and protest public indifference [20] Original story published in the Hindu, March 26, 1990

1990s[edit]

Date Name Age Country Protesting Notes and references
April 26, 1990 Žemaitis, StanislovasStanislovas Žemaitis 52 Soviet Union Communist rule in Lithuania Protesting Soviet economic blockade of Lithuania. Died next day in Moscow hospital.
April 29, 1990 Park, SungheeSunghee Park 19 South Korea Political situation in South Korea Self-immolated during students protest against the South Korean regime. Died on the 19th of May, 1991.
May 9, 1990 Daugintis, RimantasRimantas Daugintis 55 Soviet Union Communist rule in Lithuania Lithuanian sculptor self-immolated on Hungarian-Soviet border. Died after a few days.
September 19, 1990 Goswami, RajivRajiv Goswami 19 India Reservation in India Survived, but inspired some 150 other self-immolations[21]
October 14, 1990 Klingchuea, ThanawutThanawut Klingchuea 20 Thailand Government of Chatichai Choonhavan Ramkhamhaeng University student[22]
February 18, 1991 Levey, GregoryGregory Levey 30 United States Gulf War Amherst Common, MA. Particularly unremarked upon in press, as with other Gulf War protest self-immolations in US, even though Levey's father was married to nationally syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman[23][24]
September 21, 1991 Abesadze, GiorgiGiorgi Abesadze 35 Georgia Looming civil war in Georgia Physician[25]
April 29, 1993 Bamford, GrahamGraham Bamford unknown United Kingdom War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 'The British army must not be a guard of honor at a mass funeral. Bosnian babies, children, and womenfolk are waiting for the politicians to do what they know they should - give them military protection.'[26]
February 21, 1994 Darabi, HomaHoma Darabi 54 Iran Women's rights after the Iranian Revolution Biography Rage Against the Veil written by sister Parvin Darabi
April 25, 1995 Elstner, ReinholdReinhold Elstner 75 Germany Demonization of German soldiers after World War II
September 3, 1995 Kratze, SabineSabine Kratze 25 Vietnam Trial of six Buddhist monks
October 22, 1996 Change, KathyKathy Change 46 United States For directly democratic community-based self-government
January 13, 1998 Ormando, AlfredoAlfredo Ormando 29 Italy Roman Catholic Church's condemnation of homosexuality
April 27, 1998 Ngodup, ThuptenThupten Ngodup 60 India Political situation in Tibet Ex-monk. In protest of police interference with unto-death hunger-strike in Delhi. Died two days later in hospital after visit by the Dalai Lama.[27][28][29]
February 16, 1999 Coşkun, NeclaNecla Coşkun 14 United Kingdom Arrest of Abdullah Öcalan Survived.[30]

2000s[edit]

Date Name Age Country Protesting Notes and references
January 21, 2001 various China See Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident [31]
April 2, 2001 Kayani, ShahrazShahraz Kayani 48 Australia Government refusal to grant entry to his wife and daughters Pakistani refugee[32]
July 21, 2004 Cohen, Mordehai (Hamimo)Mordehai (Hamimo) Cohen 30 Israel Rejection of work license Set himself on fire during a cityhall assembly[33]
August 17, 2005 Businov, YelenaYelena Businov 54 Israel Protest against Israel's unilateral disengagement plan [34]
August 31, 2005 Ben Menahem, BaruchBaruch Ben Menahem 21 Israel Protest against Israel's unilateral disengagement plan [35]
March 28, 2006 Fortulaki, EleftheriyaEleftheriya Fortulaki Greece Treatment of Kurds in Turkey [36]
November 3, 2006 Ritscher, MalachiMalachi Ritscher 52 United States War in Iraq Died at the scene.[37]
June 11, 2006 Joshi, PravinPravin Joshi 30 India Screening of Fanaa Died 9 days later.[38]
March 7, 2007 Bhandari, UddhavUddhav Bhandari 40 United Kingdom Asylum policy Nepali asylum seeker[39]
April 1, 2007 Heo Se-ukHeo Se-uk 54 South Korea South Korea – United States Free Trade Agreement [40]
October 1, 2008 Tapia, Ramiro GuillénRamiro Guillén Tapia 65 Mexico Local government in the city of Xalapa [41]
January 29, 2009 Muthukumar, KumarKumar Muthukumar 26 India Killing of Sri Lankan Tamils Inspired several other self-immolations[42]
February 12, 2009 Varnakulasingham, MurugathasanMurugathasan Varnakulasingham 26 Switzerland Sri Lankan Government Killing of the Sri Lankan Tamils Inspired several other self-immolations[43]
February 27, 2009 Tapey, Tapey mid-20s China Political situation in Tibet Monk, Kirti Monastery, Ngaba. Shot[44] by Chinese police while on fire, and then taken away by them. Status unknown.[44]

2010s[edit]

Date Name Age Country Protesting Notes and references
February 20, 2010 Siripur Yadaiah, Siripur Yadaiah 19 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana Student. Later died in hospital.[45]
February 17, 2014 Siripur Yadaiah, Siripur Yadaiah 19 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana Student. Later died in hospital.[45]
February 21, 2010 Yadaiah, SubramSubram Yadaiah 19 India For re-creating the state of Telengana in present-day Andhra Pradesh Died in hospital.[46]
July 31, 2010 Eshan Reddy, Eshan Reddy 20's India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana student sets himself alight as an offering for a deity pleading Statehood.[47]
December 17, 2010 Bouazizi, MohamedMohamed Bouazizi 26 Tunisia Corruption in government Inspired the Tunisian revolution leading to ouster of President Ben Ali and "copycat" incidents in the Arab world.[48]
January 16, 2011 Venugopala Reddy, Venugopala Reddy 20's India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana MCA student immolated himself near his university auditorium,died on the spot.[49]
January 16, 2011 Bouterfif, MohsenMohsen Bouterfif Algeria Unemployment and housing Inspired by Bouazizi's self-immolation in Tunisia.[50]
January 16, 2011 Bhavani, Bhavani 18 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana [51]
January 17, 2011 Dahoud, Yacoub OuldYacoub Ould Dahoud 43 Mauritania Political situation in Mauritania Same as above[52]
February 21, 2011 Mohd Mustafa, Mohd Mustafa 40 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana [53]
March 16, 2011 Rigzin Phuntsog, Rigzin Phuntsog 21 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Beaten by police before they extinguished the flames. Died in hospital.[54][55][56][57]
June 15, 2011 Thomas James Ball, Thomas James Ball 58 United States Father's rights and family court injustice Self immolated on the steps of a family courthouse in New Hampshire. Died on the spot.[58]
August 15, 2011 Tsewang Norbu, Tsewang Norbu 29 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Nyitso monastery in Kham Tawu. In Tawu. Died soon afterwards.[54][57][59][60]
August 28, 2011 Senkodi, Senkodi 21 India Tamil Eezham issue A Tamil girl immolated herself in front of the Tahsil office at Kanchee­puram to save the life of 3 innocent people (Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan) in Rajiv Gandhi murder case.
September 26, 2011 Lobsang Kunchok, Lobsang Kunchok 18 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Set fire to self together with Lobsang Kelsang.[57][61][62]
September 26, 2011 Lobsang Kelsang, Lobsang Kelsang 18 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Set fire to self together with Lobsang Kunchok.[57][63]
October 3, 2011 Kelsang Wangchuk, Kelsang Wangchuk 17 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Beaten and taken away by security personnel.[64]
October 7, 2011 Kayang, Kayang 17 China Political situation in Tibet Former monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Clasped hands with Choepel; died.[57][65]
October 7, 2011 Choepel, Choepel 19 China Political situation in Tibet Former monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Clasped hands with Kayang; died.[57][66] China Daily reported they were "slightly injured".[67]
October 15, 2011 Norbu Damdrul, Norbu Damdrul 19 China Political situation in Tibet Former monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Kicked and removed from scene by authorities. Current status unknown.[57][68]
October 17, 2011 Tenzin Wangmo, Tenzin Wangmo 20 China Political situation in Tibet Nun of Mame Dechen Chokorling. In Ngaba, Amdo. Died.[57][69]
October 21, 2011 Wang, Wang 42 China Legal inequalities in China At Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Taken to hospital by police; evidence at scene erased immediately.[57][70]
October 25, 2011 Dawa Tsering, Dawa Tsering 38 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kardze Monastery. In Kardze, Amdo. Current status unknown.[57][71]
November 3, 2011 Palden Choetso, Palden Choetso 35 China Political situation in Tibet Nun in Tawu, Kardze. Reported died by Xinhua.[57][72][73]
November 4, 2011 Sherab Tsedor, Sherab Tsedor 25 China Political situation in Tibet Layperson. Outside Chinese embassy in New Delhi. Overpowered by police and hospitalized with minor burns.[74][75][76]
November 11, 2011 Gebre, YenesewYenesew Gebre 29 Ethiopia Corruption of dictatorship government Inspired by Bouazizi's self-immolation in Tunisia.[77]
December 1, 2011 Tenzin Phuntsok, Tenzin Phuntsok 46[78] China Political situation in Tibet Ex-monk, Karma Monastery, Chamdo.[79][80] Died on December 6 in Chamdo Hospital in Tibet[78] Reported in China Daily, as a "farmer" who "is considered eccentric".[81]
December 7, 2011 Hutagalung, SondangSondang Hutagalung 22 Indonesia Disputed [82]
January 6, 2012 Tennyi, Tennyi Around 20 China Political situation in Tibet [83]
January 6, 2012 Tsultrim, Tsultrim Around 20 China Political situation in Tibet [84]
January 8, 2012 Sopa Tulku / Sonam Wangyal, Sonam Wangyal 42 China Political situation in Tibet [85][86]
January 14, 2012 Jamyang Losang, Jamyang Losang 20s China Political situation in Tibet Former monk of Andu monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Deceased.[87]
February 3, 2012 Tsaptai Tsering, Tsaptai Tsering, Kyarel, Kyarel, and unknown name 60, 30, unknown China Political situation in Tibet Three laypersons. In Serthar. Incident published in several places, but unconfirmed.[88][89]
February 8, 2012 Rigzin Dorje, Rigzin Dorje (Rinzin) Around 18 China Political situation in Tibet Former monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Died Feb 21 in hospital.[90]
February 9, 2012 Sonam Rabyang, Sonam Rabyang 30s China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Lab Monastery. In Tridu town, Yushu County, Kham. Taken to hospital; condition unclear.[91]
February 11, 2012 Tenzin Choedron, Tenzin Choedron 18 China Political situation in Tibet Nun of Mame Dechen Chokorling. In Ngaba, Amdo. Taken away by soldiers and police, and died soon afterwards.[92][93]
February 13, 2012 Lobsang Gyatso, Lobsang Gyatso 19 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Current status unknown.[94][95]
March 4, 2012 Rinchen, Rinchen 32 China Political situation in Tibet Occupation unknown. In Ngaba, Amdo. Died on the spot.[96]
March 5, 2012 Dorje, Dorje (Dorjee) 18 China Political situation in Tibet Occupation unknown. In Ngaba, Amdo. Deceased.[97]
March 10, 2012 Gapey, Gapey (Gepey) 18 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Died on the spot.[98]
March 13, 2012 Jamyang Palden, Jamyang Palden 30s China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Rongpo monastery. In Rebkong, Amdo. Current status unknown.[99]
March 16, 2012 Lobsang Tsultrim, Lobsang Tsultrim 20 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery. In Ngaba, Amdo. Died in custody.[100]
March 17, 2012 Sonam Thargyal, Sonam Thargyal (Dargye, Dhargay) 44 China Political situation in Tibet Farmer in Rebkong, Amdo. Died on the spot.[101][102]
March 24, 2012 L Bhoja Naik, L Bhoja Naik 21 India For the creation of the state of Telangana MBA student set himself on fire in front of his college. Died on the spot.[103]
March 24, 2012 S Srikanth, S Srikanth 23 India For creation of state of Telangana Died in the hospital.[104]
March 26, 2012 Jamphel Yeshi, Jamphel Yeshi 20 India Political situation in Tibet Layperson in Delhi. Died 2 days later in hospital.[105][106]
March 26, 2012 Rajmouli 40 India Telangana For separate statehood to Telangana[107][108]
March 26, 2012 BR Goud n/a India Telangana For separate statehood to Telangana[107]
March 27, 2012 Pallavi , Pallavi 17 India For creation of state of Telangana Later died in hospital.[109]
March 27, 2012 Kalakanchi Ilaiah , Kalakanchi Ilaiah 30 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana Scrap dealer.[110]
March 28, 2012 K Uppalaiah , K Uppalaiah 30 India For creation of state of Telangana [111]
March 28, 2012 Lobsang Sherab, Lobsang Sherab 20 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Kirti Monastery.[112] In Ngaba, Amdo. Died on the spot.[113][114]
March 30, 2012 Tenpa Dhargyal, Tenpa Dhargyal (Darjey) 22 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Tsodun monastery. In Barkham, Amdo. Forcibly removed to hospital by Chinese security forces. Current status unknown.[115][116]
March 30, 2012 Chimey Palden, Chimey Palden (Chime) 21 China Political situation in Tibet Monk of Tsodun monastery. In Barkham, Amdo. Forcibly removed to hospital by Chinese security forces.[116][117] Died later that day around midnight.[118]
March 30, 2012 Shyamapuri Shankar, Shyamapuri Shankar 24 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana [119]
March 30, 2012 Bandavath Suresh, Bandavath Suresh 25 India Provincial Statehood demand for Telangana Suffered 50% burns.[120]
July 14, 2012 Moshe Silman, Moshe Silman 57 Israel Social justice march in Tel Aviv Social justice activist, suffered 90% burns.[121] Died of his wounds on July 20 in a hospital.[122]
July 15, 2012 Classified, Classified 30 Israel social injustice protest Protested his debts.[123]
July 16, 2012 Zion Vaknin[124], Zion Vaknin[124] 46 Israel social injustice protest In the Beersheba city hall, in protest of debts.[125]
July 18, 2012 Valentina Gerasimovna, Valentina Gerasimovna 57 Russia A woman attempted self-immolation at the public reception center of the ruling United Russia party in Novosibirsk. She earlier addressed the party's public reception center for legal advice as an apartment buyer.[126][127] Died in the hospital.[128]
July 20, 2012 Akiva Mafi, Akiva Mafi 45 Israel social injustice protest Akiva Mafi[129] (45) Disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire in Yehud, on behalf of wounded veterans.[130][131] Died on Aug 1, 2012.[132] New agency established to prevent more cases.
July 31, 2012 Ta Phong Tan's mother Vietnam Protest against 2011 crackdown on Vietnamese youth activists[133] Died in the hospital.
November 26, 2013 Bowatte Indrarathana Thera 30 Sri Lanka Government allow religious minorities slaughter cows.[134]
June 20, 2014 Thu Hoang 71 United States Apparent protest by a Vietnamese man of a Chinese state-owned oil rig being placed into waters contested by Vietnam in the South China Sea [135]
June 23, 2014 Charles Moore, Charles Moore 79 United States Social injustice[136] Set himself alight in a strip mall parking lot, died upon arrival at hospital.
June 29, 2014 A man, A man 63 Japan Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution [137]
November 11, 2014 A man, A man Japan Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution [138]
December 12, 2014 A man, A man 29 Tilburg, Netherlands Set himself on fire at the entrance of the city centre's police bureau, after which witnesses saw the man trying to get inside the building. The victim died after being rushed to the hospital.[139][140]

2010s Economic self-immolations[edit]

This is a sub-list of self-immolations caused by the European sovereign-debt crisis and related politico-economic reasons. These, while technically due to financial reasons, in reality are also a protest against the political ineffectiveness in the face of this crisis, as well as against the political decisions taken in the years leading up to it, which directly or indirectly allowed the crisis to develop.

Date Name Age Location Protesting Notes and references
September, 2011 Apostolos Polyzonis, Apostolos Polyzonis 55 Thessaloniki, Greece European sovereign-debt crisis Man set himself on fire in front of a bank.[141]
August 6, 2012 Unknown, Unknown 60 Chalcis, Greece European sovereign-debt crisis Retired footballer.[142]
October 13, 2012 Unknown, Unknown 32 Berlin, Germany European sovereign-debt crisis [143][144]
October 18, 2012 Unknown, Unknown 55 Rome, Italy European sovereign-debt crisis Romanian man, father of six.[145]
January 3, 2013 Unknown, Unknown 57 Malaga, Spain European sovereign-debt crisis Moroccan man.[146][147]
January 4, 2013 Unknown, Unknown 63 Malaga, Spain European sovereign-debt crisis [147][148]
February 18, 2013 Trayan Marechkov, Trayan Marechkov 26 Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria European sovereign-debt crisis[citation needed], part of the 2013 Bulgarian protests Died on the spot, at a central crossroads, in front of the central office of a private bank.[149]
February 20, 2013 Plamen Goranov, Plamen Goranov 36 Varna, Bulgaria Corruption and monopolies,[150] demanded the resignation of Varna's mayor Kiril Yordanov and the Municipal Council,[151] part of the 2013 Bulgarian protests against the Borisov cabinet. Mountain climber and photographer. Set himself alight in front of the municipality. Died 11 days later in hospital.[152][153]
February 26, 2013 Ventzislav Vasilev, Ventzislav Vasilev 53 Radnevo, Bulgaria European sovereign-debt crisis[citation needed], part of the 2013 Bulgarian protests. Father of five.[154] Set himself on fire and entered the Radnevo municipality. Died in hospital two weeks later.
March 13, 2013 Dimitar Dimitrov, Dimitar Dimitrov 51 Sofia, Bulgaria European sovereign-debt crisis[citation needed], part of the 2013 Bulgarian protests. Set himself on fire in front of the presidency. Hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.[155][156]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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