In a video widely circulated on social media, the Egyptian national complained about his financial and living conditions as a result of his attempts to uncover government corruption.
In a 20-minute video broadcast on Facebook, the man said his efforts to expose corruption by state officials saw him fired from his job at a bank and face a hefty fine at the hands of the National Security forces.
Shouting slogans against the government, who he accused of being led by a “thief”, the man self-immolated before policemen and passersby managed to put out the flames.
“I have nothing to cry about. My life has been ruined. I have been unjustly fired from my job and unjustly blocked from returning to it. This is what’s happening now,” he said shortly before setting himself ablaze.
“There’s a circle of corrupt people that govern Egypt, they’re all corrupt, they’re all thieves… the military council is the source of the corruption in the country. They are stealing from the country until today, while people can’t afford to eat.
“The masters are taking revenge from the slaves who revolted against them [in the 2011 uprisings]. This is where we are now. The more you stay silent, the worse it will get.”
Tahrir Square is a plaza at the heart of Cairo and was the scene of revolutionary protests in 2011 that unseated longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Many of those who rose to prominence in the uprising have since been imprisoned or have left the country amid a crackdown on civil society and free speech under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
In the seven years since Sisi assumed power in a military coup, about 60,000 political prisoners have languished in jail.
The economy has also deteriorated, with a 2019 World Bank report saying 60 percent of Egyptians are either “poor or vulnerable”.