A man was seriously injured after setting himself on fire in Germany Wednesday as a protest against Turkey’ s detention of militant Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan , police said .

“ The 43- year – old doused himself with a liquid and then set himself on fire ” outside the courthouse in the western city of Krefeld , police said in a statement .

Bystanders doused the flames with blankets and a fire extinguisher , and a rescue helicopter took the man to the hospital .

“According to witnesses , he said he was protesting against the detention of Ocalan and against German police violence, ” said the statement , adding that they were also investigating a possible “ personal motive ” and mental health issues .

Anniversary of the day when Turkish secret service agents caught Ocalan in Kenya, outside the Greek embassy in Nairobi — on February 15 , 1999 .
Ocalan co – founded the Kurdistan Workers ’ Party in 1978 , an organisation that is now blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies .

The PKK , originally set up to win Kurdish autonomy, became an armed group in 1984 with the aim of creating an independent Kurdish state . I

n the subsequent insurgency , more than 40, 000 people have been killed .

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