A man has reportedly set himself on fire on the grounds of New Zealand’s parliament in Wellington, two days ahead of national elections, police said on Thursday.
A placard could be seen on the steps leading up to Parliament House afterwards, suggesting the man was protesting. But police could not confirm this.
The sign appeared to read: “Issue is not to take children’s mother away. Enough murdering father by …”
Police placed a cordon around a burnt patch of grass, about a metre in diameter, on the lawn outside Parliament House.
A foreign reporter, who did not want to be named, witnessed the incident and said it was unlike anything they had seen before.
“I turned around and there was a man in flames on the lawn … we didn’t know it was a person to begin with,” she said.
“We were yelling for help. We didn’t know what the emergency number was … a man came over with his jacket and tried to beat the flame out.”
“Ambulance is with the man currently, who’s reportedly in a critical condition,” New Zealand police said in a statement, adding they have no immediate information on the man’s identity.
The hospital confirmed that the man was being treated and remained in critical condition.