British-Sri Lankan charged with with arson

LONDON, February 16, 2009 (AFP) – British police have charged a man with arson and affray after he reportedly tried to set himself on fire outside Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Downing Street offices, they said Sunday.

Sivsubarmazam Loges-Waran, 41, of Gloucestershire in western England, is due in court on Monday “charged with arson with intent to endanger life and affray following an incident at Downing Street” in London on Saturday.

Police said that at about 4:00 pm (1600 GMT), a man had entered the private street “having poured liquid on himself”.

A spokesman said he did not actually set himself on fire and was subsequently arrested.

The Guardian newspaper reported that the man was a Tamil opposed to the Sri Lankan government’s treatment of the country’s Tamil population. A police spokesman confirmed the suspect was of Asian appearance but gave no details. A British resident of Sri Lankan origin burnt himself to death outside the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva on Thursday in protest at the south Asian conflict, local police said.