A man set himself on fire in a car in an apparent anti-vaccine protest on a busy street in Melbourne.
Video showed a silver hatchback fully in flames near Church Street in the suburb of Richmond at around 8pm on New Year’s Day, while diners at nearby restaurants reported hearing ‘screams.’
Witnesses said police and firefighters managed to extinguish the flames before restraining the man.
He was then taken to hospital in an ambulance with life-threatening injuries.
Lydia O’Connor told The Herald Sun she was having dinner at a nearby restaurant when she heard the man screaming.
‘He poured gas on himself and on his car. It was on purpose,’ Ms O’Connor said.
‘He was screaming about mandates. He was screaming: no vax ID and throwing books.’
Another witness said the man’s ‘skin was burning’ and the flames had to be put out with water.
‘He was off his face screaming about the mandates,’ the witness said.
In November, Victoria introduced sweeping vaccine mandates for several industries, requiring workers to get the jab or show proof of medical exemption if they want to continue working onsite.
It applies in healthcare settings, schools, construction sites, retail and transport as well as several other industries.
Police cordoned off the area near the intersection of Church and Swan Street after the incident and told customers at surrounding businesses to stay indoors.
Victoria Police said it was called to the intersection after reports of a man self-harming. The force confirmed the man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.