• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Injured Stuttgart 21 protestor could stay blind

The Local · 6 Oct 2010, 11:53

Published: 06 Oct 2010 11:53 GMT+02:00

The picture of Wagner being helped away from the melee, his eyes swollen shut and bleeding, came to symbolise what critics claim was a heavy-handed approach by police trying to break up a demonstration against the controversial revamp of Stuttgart's main train station.

Wagner’s doctor said the patient was currently blind and might never have his sight fully restored.

On Wednesday, news magazine Stern reported on its website that Wagner, a retired engineer had been trying to help some young people who were caught in the stream of water.

In an interview to be published on Thursday, Wagner told the magazine he had raised his arms and waved at police to indicate to them they should stop. But he was hit directly in the face with such force that he lost consciousness.

“It felt like the punch of a giant boxer,” Wagner said.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Stuttgart 21 protest.

Wagner was part of a large crowd of protestors who blockaded the Baden-Württemberg capital’s Schlossgarten last Thursday in an effort to stop developers cutting down trees as part of the Stuttgart 21 rail project. In a dramatic escalation of tensions, at least 116 people were injured when police turned water cannons, pepper spray and batons on the crowd.

Egon Georg Weidle, senior doctor at Stuttgart’s Katharinen Hospital, diagnosed Wagner with “serious eye injuries.”

As well as suffering major bruising on both sides, Wagner's eyelids were torn, and on one side, part of his orbital bone – which encases the eye – was fractured. The retina on the same side also suffered suspected damage.

The lenses of his eyes were damaged and will need to be replaced by artificial lenses.

Story continues below…

Wagner was “at the moment blind,” the doctor told Stern. He could not say whether his patient’s sight would ever be fully restored.

Wagner has launched legal action against Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Ministry for causing bodily injury. He told the magazine he did not understand “how you can perpetrate such an inferno against the Stuttgart people.”

The Local/dw

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:16 October 6, 2010 by delvek
I feel for this guy but when your squaring off against police and provoke, right or wrong, you accept the potential result.

This guy doesnt deserve to lose his sight, I do hope he recovers.
12:20 October 6, 2010 by pepsionice
It's an odd explanation of things....first, Sterns tells us that he was helping some young people caught in the steam of water....as though he was a bystander or just a helpful guy on the street. In fact, Stern writes that he was waving to the police that "they should stop".

Then Stern lets you know that he was part of the large crowd of protesters in the first place. Something about Stern's account leaves your imagination open.

For the water cannon to have this much effect....you had to be standing fairly close but I doubt that anyone wants to admit that now.

The lesson learned? Cities should just fold up and allow demonstrators and rioters to run city government. It's the only safe way to conduct day-to-day affairs. The sooner that Germans learn this lesson...the better their lives will be.
13:10 October 6, 2010 by mbowyer
The water canon ripped open his eye lids, tore off the lens, and fractured his skull?? - Thats some phenomenal power for a jet of water. Better to stay at home.
13:57 October 6, 2010 by dankworth
Of this man deserves to have his eyes torn out, how dare he protest plans that had already been decided upon by administrators. Maybe he was under the illusion that he was living in a society that respects free speech. Doesn't he realize that he was objecting to plans that had ALREADY BEEN APPROVED?
14:08 October 6, 2010 by dcgi
++goggles

I would imagine there is a minimum safe distance that they're allowed to fire use the water cannons and for him to find out if they've misused them that day.
14:22 October 6, 2010 by delvek
Where does it say you have a right to free speech. If there is such a right he didnt get faceblasted for his free speech he got faceblasted because the police at some point percieved some sort of threat to themselves or the public interest.
14:48 October 6, 2010 by dankworth
Well of course the police are always right. If he had gotten his head torn off he would have deserved that too?
18:53 October 6, 2010 by Landmine
If you go up against the police, you can get hurt. What part of this don't the people who are participating on the protest understand? Stuttgart 21 is a done deal, no amount of people in the park is going to change a ca 10 billion euro deal -Hellooooo... The time to act was two years ago, not now... Wake up you morons, you are done....
19:28 October 6, 2010 by auniquecorn
That should be enough to warn all the protesters that they are breaking the law by not disbanding when the police told them too.

when police turned water cannons, pepper spray and batons on the crowd,I´m sure the crowd was most likely throwing rocks at the police first.
14:55 October 8, 2010 by Talonx
The police who took part in this and their superiors shouldn't have showed up with weapons, that was the initial escalation.

This was a popular protest and has been since 2 years ago, this had nothing to do with people on the left or the right, everyone was/is taking part.

The police were fighting for the wrong side. Do they protect the community or do they protect those invading and selling out the community? For as long as they do not protect the people in their community, I wish them the worst.
21:04 October 8, 2010 by HarryR
Rimini,

I think you're a self-indulgent idiot.

The people at the demo did not have a choice of whether to see the awful sight of a co-protestor so injured. Nobody enjoys seeing such images. Isn't that the whole point? The Local did it's job of informing it's readership of a significant event in Germany.

The right of people to protest is undermined when the police action is so severe. Very probably other people will be fearful to risk protest about other issues in future. This is how totalitarian govts maintain their grip by instilling fear. Your response is to witter on at length about the local's policy of showing a shocking photo rather than that the photo had cause to be taken! Shame on you! Now shut up. Adults are talking about serious matters.

Moving on,

I don't understand the actual issue at all. An infrastructure project putting money in to the local economy to improve rail links across Europe is the sort of thing that the UK is having to cut right now. Clearly, local feelings are running high and there are issues I'm not aware of or emotionally attached to.

I _am_ impressed that such broad range of people are coming together to protest. These are ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds rather than professional taunters of the state: that's why the police tactics are so appalling. The immediacy of escalation to police violence in the absence of genuine threat to their safety. Instead of containing the situation and letting it run it's course they went to war against their fellow citizens. Why? Just to express state power?

I don't even care if the blinded guy threw a stone. The police were easily distinguishable from the protesters by the plentiful protective gear they are wearing at public expense. If they wanted to arrest any stone thrower they could have easily sent out a snatch squad to arrest them, rather than fire a powerful water cannon indescriminately at close range and squirt pepper spray directly into the eyes of whoever was in front of them.

The impression I get is similar to my recollection of the soviet suppression of protests in Tiblisi, Goergia in the final days of the Soviet Union. Or security maintained by Hell's Angels rather than by a professional, modern police force in an EU country.

If the Stuttgart police is a disciplined force and their response was pre-approved I hope & expect that an enquiry will reveal those responsible and their rational for their decisions so that it's available for academic and peer review.

You know; like in a democracy.
Today's headlines
Record 125k people file suit against Canada trade deal
A leader of one of the groups opposing the trade deal stacks another box full of lawsuit documents, presented to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday. Photo: DPA.

More than 125,000 Germans have filed the largest citizen lawsuit in German history against the controversial proposed CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU.

Evacuation at Frankfurt airport ended after security lapse
Travelers being evacuated from Terminal 1 of Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: Officials ended a partial evacuation of Frankfurt airport on Wednesday afternoon after police found and arrested a woman who had somehow evaded proper checks, prompting security concerns.

Merkel: 'Germany will remain Germany'
Photo: DPA.

One year after Angela Merkel first declared "we can do this," leading to a huge uptick in refugees applying for asylum, the Chancellor reflected this week on her policies and the future of Germany.

Nazi beach resort ruin turned into luxury playground
Prora. Photo: DPA

One of the biggest relics left behind by the Nazis is undergoing a radical transformation on a German island, harnessing a property boom to become a luxury tourist destination.

Berlin plans to be first state to arm police with tasers
Photo: DPA.

Berlin's plans to arm police patrols with taser guns would make it the first German state to implement extensive use of the electroshock weapon.

Far-right AfD leader injured by flying frozen cake
Jörg Meuthen and a cake. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right AfD party was attacked with a cake while attending a political event on Monday. But the fact the dessert was frozen made the act "dangerous", according to the politician.

Underwater pensioner hunts boats on famed Bavarian lake
A passenger boat on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

"I love chasing the ships, and what a great feeling it is when they sound the horn!" he gleefully exclaims.

What are Merkel's chances for remaining Chancellor?
Photo: DPA.

She's already held the Chancellery for over a decade, but infighting with political allies as well as a rocky response to her refugee policies may put a damper on Angela Merkel's staying power.

German EU commissioner doubts Brexit will happen
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: EPA.

Germany's EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger raised doubts on Tuesday about whether Britain would leave the bloc, saying he wouldn't bet on "Brexit".

Merkel offers Russia a lifting of sanctions - if it behaves
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she has "the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions" against Russia, Reuters reports.

National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
7,567
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd