US Airman Sets Himself on Fire in Protest of Israel-Palestinian Conflict

US Airman Sets Himself on Fire in Protest of Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Aaron Bushnell, who described himself as an active-duty member of the Air Force, set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Sunday in what he described as an act of protest against the “genocide” in Gaza.

The 25-year-old succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Independent reporter Talia Jane posted a censored version of the video of Bushnell’s self-immolation on social media platform X.

USA Today reported that he had livestreamed the incident on his Twitch account, but it was later taken down.

“My name is Aaron Bushnell, I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” Bushnell began saying in a video he recorded of himself walking toward the Israeli Embassy. He was fully dressed in his Air Force uniform.

“I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest,” he continued, “but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

Bushnell then placed his phone, still recording, on the ground and approached the security gate at the Israeli Embassy.

After dousing himself in a flammable liquid, he placed his hat on his head, threw the canister holding the liquid onto the pavement of the embassy’s driveway and attempted to ignite the lighter to set himself ablaze.

In the background of the clip, what is believed to be the voice of embassy security could be heard asking, “Hi, sir. Can I help you?”

As the security officer approached him and asked again, “Can I help you, sir?” Bushnell set himself ablaze.

He shouted, “Free Palestine!” five times in between agonizing screams.

Embassy security shouted for Bushnell to drop to the ground in an attempt to save him. A siren could be heard as an ambulance approached the scene.

Law enforcement officers and emergency personnel approached him with a fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the fire; one officer pointed a gun at Bushnell.

“I don’t need guns; I need fire extinguishers!” one officer shouted.

According to D.C. Fire and EMS, the fire had been extinguished by members of the Secret Service Uniformed Division when firefighters arrived at the scene.

A Monday post on the website of the anarchist collective CrimetheInc. said Bushnell had emailed the group on Sunday before setting himself on fire.

“Today, I am planning to engage in an extreme act of protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people,” he said, according to the post. “The below links should take you to a livestream and recorded footage of the event, which will be highly disturbing. I ask that you make sure that the footage is preserved and reported on.”

The website identified the Twitch account Bushnell used for his livestream as having the username “LillyAnarKitty.”

It said the user icon for the account was an “A” with a circle around it, which it called “the universal signifier for anarchism — the movement against all forms of domination and oppression.”

Bushnell’s is not the first incident of self-immolation in protest of Israel’s war against Hamas, which was triggered by a brutal Oct. 7 terrorist attack in which 1,200 people were killed and many others were taken captive.

The Associated Press reported in December that a protester was critically injured after setting himself or herself on fire in front of the Israeli consulate in Atlanta.

It said authorities did not release the demonstrator’s name, age or sex.

A Palestinian flag was found at the scene.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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