Ercolano, June 10 - A florist in southern Italy died Monday after setting himself on fire inside the local mayor's office then jumping from the window. Witnesses said Antonio Formicola, 60, forced his way inside the building wielding a knife, then doused himself with gasoline before setting himself alight inside the office of the mayor of Ercolano, which is outside Naples. He died of cardiac arrest at the hospital. Another person was hospitalized after being struck on the street below by a fire extinguisher which was thrown from the same first-storey window. Soon after hundreds of protesters gathered around the office building shouting insults such as "murderer" at the mayor, who was not present at the time of the incident. Many of the demonstrators were reportedly shopkeepers from the area, which like much of the south has been hard-hit by Italy's ongoing economic crisis. Demonstrators who knew the shopkeeper described him as kind and always eager to help those in need.
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di Giovanni Pastore