US Air Force engineer, anarchist dies after self-immolating in front of Israeli Embassy in DC to protest war in Gaza

An anarchist activism page stated his Twitch username was consistent with a "universal signifier for anarchism."


US airman Aaron Bushnell died after setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC to protest the Israel-Hamas war. He was an anarchist activist who wanted to "transition out of the US Air Force." 

The self-immolation cost Bushnell, 25, his life. His Facebook page shows that he followed several anarchist activism groups. According a friend of Bushnell, who spoke to SNB13, Bushnell spent much of his time in San Antonio, Texas, "living his anarchist principles in action."  

His Twitch streaming page, where the video was originally posted, has been taken down, but it displayed an anarchist symbol with a Palestinian flag. 

His LinkedIn page also indicates that Bushnell was seeking to "transition out of the US Air Force into software engineering."  

Bushnell live-streamed his immolation on Twitch. His act was in support of Palestinian autonomy and was posted under the username LillyAnarKitty. The stream has now been taken down. Other pages with similar names such as Anarkitty as well have similar symbols related to anarchist activism.  

The video was posted on his Facebook profile, where it captioned the post, "Many of us like to ask ourselves, 'What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?' The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now."

Another anarchist activism page reported that his username was consistent with a "universal signifier for anarchism."

The page states that Bushnell sent an email to the anarchists saying, “Today, I am planning to engage in an extreme act of protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people. The below links should take you to a livestream and recorded footage of the event, which will be highly disturbing. I ask that you make sure that the footage is preserved and reported on.” 

The video began with him walking to the embassy, saying, "My name is Aaron Bushnell. I am an active-duty member of the US Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest—but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all." 

Others posted the stream of the event on X where, after Bushnell set himself on fire, he screamed several times, "Free Palestine," before he collapsed on the ground. Officers around him took action to put out the flames and he later died due to his injuries. 

A Secret Service spokesman said after the event, "The US Secret Service, Uniformed Division responded to the 3400 Block of International Drive, NW, DC regarding an individual that was experiencing a possible medical / mental health emergency."

The Metropolitan Police Department's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was also called to the scene about a vehicle that was suspected of being connected to Bushnell.  

On Sunday, when the event occurred, the Israel Embassy released a statement, saying, "On Sunday, 2/25, at around 1 PM, a man set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The man is unknown. No Embassy staff were injured and are safe."

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