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From the Fringe

Fed up With Fuel Prices, Man Burns Own BMW

A man who said he had to give up his job because he couldn't pay for the gasoline required for his commute, sent a fiery message to the government on Friday.

burning car

Protester burned his own car this time, not someone else's

A man demanding a tax holiday on gasoline set fire to his own BMW car in front of the German city of Frankfurt's most iconic skyscraper Friday to protest soaring fuel costs.

Police said the man, who identified himself only as Michael, parked the car in a grassy area near the tower, poured a canister of gasoline over it and set it alight. Lettering painted on the car said "Gas Profiteering" and showed the address of his protest site on the internet.

By the time police and fire crews arrived, the car had been gutted.

Police detained the man, 30, who lives in neighboring state of Bavaria. They said the damage, including the loss of the car, totalled about 10,000 euros ($15,700 dollars). The man had said he had wanted to burn the car in Berlin, but it had been too far to drive.

He said he had left his job 23 days earlier because he had had to pay 250 euros ($394) a month for fuel to drive to his place of employment located 80 kilometers (50 miles) from his home.

Police spokesman Karlheinz Wagner said the protester would probably be charged with pollution and would receive a hefty invoice from the fire brigade.

"The guy was quite lucky because the gas tank did not explode," he added.

On the website, the man made clear that he viewed the German government, not oil companies, as the profiteers, since the retail price of gasoline in Germany was mainly tax.

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