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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 June, 2003, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Appeal over fire protests
Heshmat Zandi
Heshmat Zandi doused himself with petrol outside the embassy
Police have appealed for Iranian demonstrators not to resort to such "appalling" measures after a fourth person set himself on fire near the French Embassy in central London.

Two officers who helped the second of two protesters on Friday were taken to hospital where they received treatment for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter, who is the officer in charge of the policing operation, is concerned that others could be injured.

Demonstrators are gathered outside the embassy in Knightsbridge in protest at the arrests of 150 members of the Iranian opposition group the People's Mujahideen in Paris.

French intelligence accused the People's Mujahideen, an armed opposition group, of planning terrorist attacks at embassies across Europe.

These have been extremely distressing incidents for the officers who have quickly and bravely helped to take action
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter
One man is in a serious condition at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, after setting himself ablaze on Friday morning.

In the afternoon, a second man was treated for burns after setting himself on fire outside the embassy in Knightsbridge.

On Wednesday Neda Hassani, 24, was critically injured after setting fire to herself and engineering student Heshmat Zandi, 38, suffered 40% burns after dousing himself in petrol on Tuesday.

Mr Trotter said: "We now have dealt with a total of four incidents where people have set themselves on fire around the area of the French Embassy.

"These have been extremely distressing incidents for the officers who have quickly and bravely helped to take action which has undoubtedly helped to keep these people alive.

'Stop these acts'

"Two of my officers have been taken to hospital and I am concerned that more officers do not end up in the same position."

He said they were "doing all we can to try and stop these acts".

Before demonstrators join the protest they are being searched by police and items such as lighters or matches are confiscated.

The deputy commissioner appealed for demonstrators not to resort to such "appalling" forms of protest.

And Maryam Rajavi, a co-leader of the Mujahedeen Khalq still held in France after Tuesday's raids, has also urged protesters not to carry out suicidal protests.




SEE ALSO:
Fourth person in fire protest
20 Jun 03  |  London
Second protest of fire
18 Jun 03  |  London
Protester sets himself on fire
17 Jun 03  |  London
Protests spread beyond Tehran
17 Jun 03  |  Middle East


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