Protester sets self on fire outside Donald Trump trial

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A man set himself on fire Friday outside the courthouse in Manhattan where former President Donald Trump’s hush-money trial is taking place.

After dousing himself in a flammable liquid, he tossed pamphlets into the air in front of nearby gathered news media.

The man’s motive remains unclear, and police promptly responded to the scene.

While Mr. Trump was present inside the building for jury selection, he had a security detail and left during the incident.

Emergency officials confirmed that court security had not been compromised. Following the incident, which occurred after alternate jury selection had just concluded, the trial resumed later in the afternoon. Opening statements are slated to commence on Monday.

During a press briefing, investigators disclosed that they received a 911 emergency call around 13:30 local time (18:30 BMT) reporting a man who had set himself on fire.

The individual was identified as Maxwell Azzarello, who had recently arrived in New York from his residence in Florida within the past week. He has no prior criminal record in New York, and his family in Florida were unaware of his trip to the city.

New York Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey stated that Azzarello was observed “shuffling around” in the park before retrieving a flammable liquid and pamphlets from a bag. Chief Maddrey noted that the pamphlets contained “propaganda-based” content related to a “conspiracy theory.” The flammable substance appears to have been an alcohol-based cleaning product.

Due to the ongoing trial, there was a significant police presence outside the courthouse. Upon hearing the commotion, officers swiftly entered the park, calling for a fire extinguisher. Azzarello was then transported on a stretcher, sustaining severe burns. Authorities indicated that he was admitted to a hospital burn center in critical condition.

Witness Julie Berman told reporters “It was hot, and it didn’t make a lot sense. The whole thing happened so fast… it took me like 20 seconds to figure out what was going on.”

Another witness told BBC News that the scene was something “I never wanted to see.”

Subsequent to the incident, NYPD investigators were observed gathering the pamphlets scattered by Azzarello prior to his self-immolation. They have confirmed the area as safe.

Investigators are currently in the process of interviewing witnesses and have noted that Azzarello did not utter any words before igniting himself.

Three NYPD officers and one court officer sustained minor injuries while assisting in extinguishing the fire.

Authorities have stated that they will undertake a review of security measures outside the court premises.