Aaron Bushnell: Friends of the American pilot struggle to come to terms with his self-immolation in support of Gaza

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A demonstrator carrying a banner with a picture of American pilot Aaron Bushnell in the British city of Glasgow – March 2, 2024

  • Author, Kayla Epstein and Angelica Casas
  • Role, BBC News

On Sunday morning, 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell calmly walked into the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C., and set himself on fire.

Bushnell, wearing a US Air Force uniform, said he “will no longer be complicit in genocide” in Gaza, and shouted: “Freedom for Palestine” as he burned until he knelt on the ground. Hours later, he died in hospital from serious burns.

Bushnell broadcast his self-immolation live, ensuring that what he described as an “extremist act of protest” could be seen outside Washington.

Although the initial video Bushnell posted was removed, the footage went viral on social media.

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