A Haitian senator reportedly shot two men, including a photojournalist, outside the country’s parliament Monday amid unrest in the nation.
Sen. Jean Marie Ralph Féthière (above) opened fire while facing a throng of unruly protesters on the second day of failed attempts by the government to confirm the nomination of Fritz William Michel as the new prime minister, according to The Guardian.
The senators had left parliament without a vote.
Féthière allegedly had his gun drawn outside of the Port-au-Prince building and warned the crowd he would shoot if they didn’t let him leave, according to Senator Patrice Dumont.
The gunfire struck Associated Press photographer Chery Dieu-Nalio, who managed to snap a photo of the senator with his handgun drawn as he stood next to a vehicle.
Dieu-Nalio, who was wounded in the face by bullet fragments, was hospitalized and is expected to survive.
Another man, Leon Leblanc, a security guard and driver, also suffered non-life threatening injuries, the report said.
Protesters reportedly swarmed Haiti’s parliament Monday as part of a larger movement against Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and the government for a diminishing quality of life aided by a serious fuel shortage and the rising cost of living, The Guardian said.
Féthière later explained his actions to Radio Mega, saying, “I was attacked by groups of violent militants. They tried to get me out of my vehicle. And so I defended myself. Self-defense is a sacred right.
“Armed individuals threatened me. It was proportional. Equal force, equal response.”
He also claimed he was unaware there was a journalist around, despite Dieu-Nalio wearing a jacket with the word “Press” and a helmet, the Guardian said.
Moïse has reportedly tried to force through Michel’s appointment in order to leave the country and speak at this week’s UN meetings.
As senators left Monday without the appointment, they were greeted by protester shouts of “thief, thief, thief.”
The senate president, Carl Murat Cantave, who was critical of the police handling of the chaotic crowds, had rocks thrown at him.
Senator Jean Rigaud Belizaire also said the Senate’s rooms had been smeared with a liquid resembling feces, the report said.