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Frenchman self-immolates to protest dole exclusion

Reporters stand outside a French state employment agency February 13, 2013 in Nantes
Members of the press stand outside a French state employment agency, Pole Emploi, in Nantes, western France on February 13, 2013 following the self immolation of an unemployed Frenchman.

An unemployed Frenchman died Wednesday after setting himself on fire outside the state employment agency in the western city of Nantes, police said.

The man had sent messages to journalists warning he would self-immolate this week after being declared ineligible for unemployment benefits.

Labour Minister Michel Sapin expressed his condolences over the "horrifying" act while the state employment agency said it had "looked into possible solutions" to help the man.

A 51-year-old jobless man had also burnt himself to death near Paris in August.

The number of unemployed has risen steadily in France for the past 20 months, and could soon reach the record high set in January 1997 of 3.2 million.

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