Haitian Senator Opens Fire at Local Protesters Outside of Parliament

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – A sitting of the Senate called to ratify the appointment of Prime Minister Fritz William Michel was adjourned Monday after Senator Jean-Marie Ralph Fethière fired gunshots to defend himself against demonstrators who had entered the legislative compound.

“I defended myself. Self-defense is a sacred right,” said Senator Fethière after firing the shots into the crown.

A photojournalist with the Associated Press was among two people wounded when the legislator fired his gun in the yard of the Haitian Senate. According to The Guardian, the photojournalist Chery Dieu-Nalio was shot in the face and the second man, Leon Leblanc, a security guard and driver, was also injured was also severely wounded.

Local media reports said that journalist, who was covering the Senate sitting, was hit and Senator Patrice Dumont told the radio station, Vision2000, the shots were fired by Fethière and were not aimed at the journalist and a security guard who had been assigned to the Parliament.

Following the shooting, the Senate was adjourned “sine die” meaning that it had been adjourned with no specific date for its resumption.

This is the second time in as many weeks that the Senate had been adjourned without a specific date for its resumption.

Before the shooting incident, Senate President Carl Murat Cantave had complained on radio that the scene had turned chaotic.

He also accused the Haiti National Police (PNH) of not from preventing individuals he described as “thugs” from accessing the Senate yard.

The Senate president said that the “thugs” had been invited by opposition legislators intent on preventing the ratification vote.

Earlier this month, the Chamber of Deputies gave Michel the green light even as opposition legislators sought to disrupt the proceedings.

When the vote was taken late last Tuesday, 76 deputies voted for Prime Minister Michel’s policy, three abstained, and none voted against.

But last Wednesday, dozens of armed protesters posing as “political activists” took a stand around the parliament despite the security measures deployed by the police and many of them made their way into the building breaking everything in their path.

Last month, President Jovenel Moise had called on Parliament to approve the nomination and government of Prime Minister Michel, describing him as “a brilliant civil servant who has devoted his entire career to serving the people of Haiti”.

Michel, a former executive in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, became the fourth prime minister of Haiti since President Moise became the head of state in 2017.

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