Man sets himself on fire in Minsk outside Belarus government HQ: police

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A 35-year-old man in Belarus set himself on fire outside the government headquarters in Minsk on Friday and was hospitalised after passers-by and police put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, police said.

The man could be seen on fire on a sprawling, largely empty square in the centre of Minsk near a statue of Lenin in video footage shared online.

Several people could be seen rushing towards him to try to put the flames out.

The motives for the man's act were not immediately clear and investigators were working to establish the background, the Belarusian Investigative Committee said in a statement.

It said the man had doused himself with a liquid before setting himself alight.

Belarus has been rocked by rolling protests since a presidential election last summer which the opposition says was rigged in favour of the official winner and incumbent Alexander Lukashenko. He denies the vote-rigging allegations.

(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)