Indigenous rights activist Florentino Gomez, jailed in Chiapas since May, was released Saturday after his nephew, 21-year-old Agustin Gomez Perez, set himself on fire in front of the state Congress.
Protesters helped Gomez douse himself in gasoline then lit him on fire. With his clothes completely ablaze, Gomez ran wildly around the street, then dropped and rolled as onlookers screamed. The flames were finally extinguished after approximately 25 seconds. Gomez has been hospitalized and is reportedly in critical condition with second and third degree burns. The incident was captured on video:
Florentino Gomez was released from jail hours later. According to La Jornada newspaper, the activist was incarcerated on charges of cattle theft, firearm possession, organized delinquency, and kidnapping. He is known for his work fighting high electricity rates, campaigning for the release of political prisoners, and supporting the region’s Zapatista movement.
The Frente Ricardo Flores Magon, an indigenous communitarian organization, had been camped outside the state Congress demanding Gomez's release. The protests included staged crucifixions and a hunger strike where women sewed their lips closed.