Dressed in black clothes camouflaging his body covered with scars, and equipped with a futuristic prosthesis in his right hand, the 25-year-old drinks a Perrier puck in a Lyon guinguette after a demonstration organized for the interprofessional strike day of October 18 .

“It’s important to me, I always take part in these kinds of events,” he told AFP, raising his round glasses which keep slipping on his burnt nose.

Very active since his 15 years in the socialist movement, Anas remains, for some, a symbol of the distress that young students sometimes face.

On November 8, 2019 at 2:50 p.m., he decided to kill himself in a spectacular gesture.

“I went to get a jerry can at the next station, poured five liters of petrol into it, threw it over my head and lit the fire with a kind of torch lighter”, he lets go in a neutral tone to play down his act which left him burnt in the third degree, at more than 75%.

Why? “Because nothing was going”: burnout due to his intense union activities in parallel with his studies, financial difficulties linked to the loss of his scholarship for having failed three times in the second year of his license, “very” depressive behavior aggravated according to him with hypothyroidism…

“I was exhausted,” says the Franco-Moroccan born in Saint-Étienne. He was looking for a “shock way to show it” and “when you’re all alone, you have two options: assassinations or suicide attempts in public”.

He then wrote a “political will” to highlight “the problems facing students” and tell “people to continue to fight”, even if he “decided (t) to stop”.

“His gesture put the subject of student precariousness in the public debate”, estimates Magalie, 22, her friend since 2018, insisting on “the psychological distress linked to (their) living conditions”.

“Studies are survival for some students and Anas has paid the price. This precariousness, he will have marked it in his flesh for life and fortunately he is always there to talk about it”, adds the student in sociology at Lyon 2.

– “Live my life” –

After being “saved” by Kevin, “a guy from the construction site next door” who took a fire extinguisher to extinguish the flames, the pain of burns ensued, five months of artificial coma, three months of continuous care, the everything punctuated by operations – between 30 and 45 according to him, “maybe even more”, hesitates Anas.

He leaves the rehabilitation center on April 30, 2021, to be able to demonstrate on May 1. “It had to be, it was much too symbolic. I did the demonstration, my feet hurt because I am completely amputated from one toe and partially from three others, but there was no problem. “, he assures.

Today an L3 student in political science at Lyon 2, his convictions have not changed, “except on disability”, nuance the one who has become a scholarship holder again and who now receives the allowance for disabled adults (AAH).

“When we knew he was going to come back, we quickly organized ourselves to help him get back to a student life as well as possible and give him the best possible chance of succeeding in his training project”, testifies Nathalie Dompnier , president of the Lumière University, referring to an adjustment of the end-of-year exams, courses adapted to her medical appointments and support for the disability mission.

“I live a normal life as a student”, confirms Anas, despite the after-effects.

“People’s gaze can be a bit difficult. In the metro, they tend not to sit next to me,” he says.

But “I didn’t let this thing get me down and if I got out of it it was to do something and live my life”, insists the one who is heading for the customs inspector competition after a master’s degree. and who would like to create his own trade union and political party.