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Haiti senator fires shots as protesters circle him, 2 injured

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People run as Haitian Senator Jean Marie Ralph Fethiere fires a gun into the air, injuring a photographer for the Associated Press, while facing opposition supporters in the parking lot of the Haitian parliament and senate, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on September 23, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

A lawmaker from Haiti’s ruling party has used a handgun to open fire during a protest sparked by fuel and food shortages, wounding a photojournalist and a security guard.

Haitian Senator Jean Marie Ralph Fethiere got out of a vehicle near the parliament in the capital, Port-au-Prince, after several angry protesters yanked open his passenger-side door, and fired a handgun into the air on Monday, dispersing the people gathered around his car.

Associated Press photographer Dieu-Nalio Chery and a security guard were injured in the incident.

The photojournalist, who was wearing a helmet and body armor clearly marked with the word “Press,” was reportedly hit in the jaw by a bullet fragment. His wounds were described as not severe, but he would undergo further treatment this week.

Meanwhile, security guard Leon Leblanc was injured in the stomach. His condition was not immediately known.

Fethiere justified his action, saying it was an act of self-defense.

Protesters had gathered outside the building as the senate attempted to confirm Fritz-William Michel as the new prime minister.

The Caribbean country has been gripped by weeks of anti-government protests triggered by crippling fuel shortages.

Protesters call for the resignation of Jovenel Moise, who took office in 2017, as they blame him for failing to address government corruption and for mismanaging the economy.

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