Latin America & Caribbean

Photographer tells how he captured Haiti shooting incident

Senator Jean Marie Ralph Féthière holds a gun in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Andres Martinez Casares is behind the lens as Senator Jean Marie Ralph Féthière wields his gun
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Andres Martinez Casares, the Reuters photographer who took the dramatic pictures of Haitian Senator Jean-Marie Ralph Féthière opening fire outside the country's parliament on Monday, told the BBC how he reacted to being caught up in the incident.

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Senator Jean Marie Ralph Féthière holds a gun in the country's capital, Port-au-Prince Image copyright Reuters
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Senator Féthière opened fire as he left parliament in the capital, Port-au-Prince, later claiming he was defending himself from protesters.

Andres Martinez Casares with his camera. "I followed a group of opposition supporters who went to the [car park] of the Haitian Senate and parliament and I saw them shouting at Féthière, who got into the car. I moved to the side as I thought they could drive aggressively to leave," Martinez said.

"But some men went to the door and started shouting again, and then Féthière came out and pointed the gun in the air and fired some shots, and then [fired] to the ground."

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Senator Jean Marie Ralph Féthière is seen on the right seconds after opening fire Image copyright Reuters
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"It was a matter of a few seconds, my pictures were taken in two or three [seconds]; there was just enough time to go from one side of the car to the other and frame some quick pictures."

Martinez put his ability to remain calm and take pictures down to experience.

"I don't think you are totally calm because you are alert, trying to be aware of the whole situation; there is a man shooting in the air, but there are also scared people running away that push you, and you don't know if there [is] anybody else willing to use a gun," he said.

"You are there, and there is an unusual event in front of you that might not last, you just try to get something in focus to be able to show it to the world."

Although he did not fear for his life, Martinez said he "was concerned that the situation could get worse".

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People run as Senator Jean-Marie Ralph Féthière fires a gun in the air Image copyright Reuters
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Chery Dieu-Nalio, a photographer for the Associated Press, was hit in the face.

"I've known Chery for a long time," Martinez said.

After the shooting, Dieu-Nalio "came calling me and pointing to his chin, so when I saw the blood I checked him and I stopped the bleeding with a bandage," Martinez said.

If you want to help, you have to keep yourself focused and in relative calm, otherwise you can't think clearly."

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Photojournalist Chery Dieu-Nalio holds a gauze next to his mouth Image copyright Reuters
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Later, Martinez said he went to the hospital to check on Dieu-Nalio.

"He was sent home after the doctors took care of him. He was resting and waiting to have the bullet removed. The doctors said that he was fine, and his condition wasn't life-threatening, so they sent him back home to be with his family."

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Photojournalist Dieu Nalio-Chery holds a gauze next to his mouth in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Image copyright Reuters
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Earlier, Martinez captured Senator Willot Joseph as he scuffled with opposition supporters upon arriving at the Congress building in Port-au-Prince.

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Haitian Senator Willot Joseph scuffles with opposition supporters as he arrives at Congress Image copyright Reuters
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"I've covered shootings before and have also photographed fights in official buildings, like in the National Assembly in Caracas in 2017 or recently in the Haitian parliament between lawmakers, but I never thought that I would see a politician using a gun like [Monday]."

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Haitian Senator Willot Joseph holds a gun as he pushes an opposition supporter in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Joseph holds a gun as he pushes an opposition supporter who was shouting at him
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All pictures copyright.

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