AP Journalist 1 Of 2 Wounded In Haitian Senator Gunfire

AP Journalist 1 Of 2 Wounded In Haitian Senator Gunfire

Haitian senator
Sen. Ralph Fethiere fires his gun as protesters rush at him and members of his entourage outside the Haitian Senate, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. Senators were convening Monday to approve the prime minister nomination. Associated Press photographer Dieu Nalio Chery was hit in the jaw by what appeared to be a fragment of one of the bullets fired by Fethiere. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

A photojournalist with the Associated Press was one of the two people hurt when a Haitian senator opened fire outside parliament amid a crowd of protestors in Port-au-Prince, according to a Quartz Africa report.

Ruling party senator Jean Marie Ralph Fethiere fired several shots from the door of his vehicle after protestors approached him. One bullet hit AP’s photojournalist Dieu Nalio Chery in the face while another hit a security agent.

Doctors said the injuries were not life-threatening.

Haitian senator claims self-defense

Fethiere said he shot in the air in self-defense after he asked the protestors to let him leave and they refused.

“Armed individuals threatened me. It was proportional. Equal force, equal response,” The Guardian quoted him telling a local radio station.

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Protests and violence has escalated in Port-au-Prince in recent weeks over numerous scandals and crises after former Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant was dismissed and his government collapsed in March.

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The shooting incident came as the Haitian senate attempted to meet for the second time in two days to confirm the appointment of a new prime minister, Fritz-William Michel.

“For a politician to open fire on a crowd and then express surprise when a journalist is injured is sickening and alarming,” said Natalie Southwick, program coordinator Central and South America for the Committee to Protect Journalists.