Man sets himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square

PRAGUE Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:54am EST

PRAGUE Jan 20 (Reuters) - A Czech man set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square on Sunday, just days after the anniversary of student Jan Palach's immolation in 1969 to protest at the occupation of Czechoslovakia, police said.

A spokeswoman said the 36-year-old lit his jacket in front of the National Museum - an area usually teeming with tourists and locals alike - near where Palach doused himself with flammable liquid on Jan. 16, 1969, following the occupation of communist Czechoslovakia by Russian-led forces.

Palach died three days later from burns but his protest against the 1968 occupation, which had put an end to liberal reforms, set off a wave of self-immolations in the following months.

"In all likelihood the man did not want to commit suicide," spokeswoman Eva Kropacova said. "He said it was only a remembrance to Jan Palach."

She said the man suffered only burning on his fingers after police were able to reach the man quickly to put out the flames in the snow. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Alison Williams)