Man Protesting Veterans Affairs Lights Himself On Fire Outside Georgia Capitol

Covered bridge in rural Vermont
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ATLANTA (AP) — A man who says he was disgruntled with the Veterans Affairs system strapped fireworks to his chest and lit himself on fire in front of the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday.

The incident prompted the Capitol building to be evacuated and the surrounding streets to be shut down. No one else was injured.

“He had (fireworks) strapped to himself and as I understand doused himself with some additional flammable and set himself on fire,” said Mark Perry, Director of Public Information for the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “I’m not sure if it was gasoline or kerosene or what it was.”

Law officers have not provided details on the man’s complaints about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, saying only that he is disgruntled with the system.

“I’m not sure what his history is there, but he is disgruntled with the VA system and is trying to draw some attention to that. He stated something to the effect that he was looking for some help,” Perry said.

Perry said the man’s condition wasn’t immediately known, though he was burned but could still speak to officers. Perry said the man, whose identity was not immediately known, said he was a veteran. He was brought to Grady Memorial Hospital.

A Nissan Sentra possibly belonging to the man was still parked in front of the Capitol and was being investigated by a bomb squad unit.

Veterans groups in recent years have demanded changes in the nation’s Veterans Affairs system, which has been sharply criticized by veterans who say they’ve had to wait months for appointments. On June 6, President Donald Trump signed legislation aimed at allowing veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the system in an attempt to reduce wait times and improve care.

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