2018 Photo Contest, Spot News, 3rd prize

Demonstrator Catches Fire


Juan Barreto

Agence France Presse

03 May, 2017

People try to help Victor Salazar, who caught alight after an explosion during a street protest is Caracas, Venezuela.

José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) caught fire after the gas tank on a motorcycle exploded, during a protest against the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas. Violent clashes had broken out between demonstrators and the national guard. The motorcycle, belonging to a member of the national guard, was apparently being destroyed by protesters.

Accounts of the incident differ, but some say that an object thrown by protesters caused the gas tank to explode. Further reports maintain that Salazar’s clothing caught fire so readily because he was doused in petrol either by a bomb he was carrying, or that of a fellow protestor.

Salazar suffered severe burns to more than 70% of his body, but survived the incident.

About the photographer

Juan Barreto

At the age of 17 he started working as an assistant at the photographic archive of one of Venezuela's leading newspapers where he began his career in photojournalism. His work a...

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