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Blinded Stuttgart 21 protestor wants apology
Photo: DPA

Blinded Stuttgart 21 protestor wants apology

Published: 28 Dec 2010 11:01 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Dec 2010 11:01 GMT+01:00

A man blinded by a water cannon during a Stuttgart 21 demonstration – and whose image became a rallying point for protestors – is demanding an apology from Baden-Württemberg state premier Stefan Mappus.

Dietrich Wagner, 66, remains almost completely blind after he was hit directly in the face by a police water cannon after a protest against the controversial rail project turned violent last September.

“My independence is gone. I have to be looked after like a little child,” Wagner told Stern magazine.

He told Stern he wanted an apology from Mappus to Stuttgart's citizens.

He could no longer read or ride a bicycle as he had before. His partner had to help him with basic daily tasks such as shaving and getting dressed.

When he pours a glass of water, for example, “I hold a finger in the glass, so I know when it is full,” he said.

Soon he will start using a blind person’s cane, he said. He is blind in one eye and has about 8 percent vision in the other.

Wagner insisted he bore no responsibility for his injuries, as a police spokesman had previously suggested. He said he had expected to get wet or to “get a couple of bruises” from the water cannon “but not to be blasted blind.”

Stuttgart 21 consists of a massive construction effort, involving rebuilding the city’s main train station underground and turning it around 90 degrees, as well as laying 57 kilometres of new tracks. The aim is to make the city a major European rail hub.

The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:26 December 28, 2010 by auniquecorn
Did´nt they show a video with this guy throwing sh!t at the cops?
11:54 December 28, 2010 by freechoice
why do you have to censor his eyes?
12:18 December 28, 2010 by DoubleDTown
First, I say "thanks" to The Local for censoring the photo - it's gruesome. But if you wanna see it, look here: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20101006-30295.html

Second, yeah he threw stuff at the protest. Video here: http://www.bild.de/BILD/politik/2010/10/07/stuttgart-21-opfer-dietrich-wagner-vorwuerfe-video/soll-beweisen-er-hat-selbst-gegenstaende-geworfen.html

But I think he claims they were just chestnuts. Still, though it sucks he was so badly injured I suspect there weren't any policemen sitting around plotting to hurt anyone so badly and if he had followed the police's instructions he would not have been hurt.
14:05 December 28, 2010 by jamano
Water cannons are no longer used in US. There are far more effective and safer non-lethal options for riot control. However it seems water cannons are still in use on a large scale in Germany and here are the concequences.

Collateral damage I suppose.
14:16 December 28, 2010 by freedom1776
Dear Professor: You are living proof that liberals only become conservative after they have been mugged. Herr Professor had been living in a protected world on the University where the abstract never meets the real world; and he never had to pay a real price for his ideas. Exactly like Muslim, Christian, and Communist Theorists (Karl Marx) for instance. They write the theories and the useful idiots do the dirty work, commit suicide and take the hard knocks. So Her professor went to the protest. If he used an ounce of imagination he would have anticipated being in a violent situation. But No: He did not. For he was the Great Professor! He assumed the risk by going there. He was wounded, he should have seen that as a real possibility. But No! He has learned nothing! Now he whines and demands an apology. His response is another attack from his safe and fantasy theoretical position. Quite in character for him. So he acted like a Jackass then and remains a Jackass now.
14:39 December 28, 2010 by derExDeutsche
If you throw $#!*, don't be pissed and ask for an apology if somebody throws $#!* back.

Herr Wagner got off easy. Remember the 'Peacenik' from the IMF Rally with the Fire Extinguisher?

Hippies love thinking of themselves as righteous weekend warriors, but lets face it, they just LOVE to bring the Wut and the Violence, but then with the first little scratch they run for Mommy, wondering why throwing $#!* at the Protest wasn't 'SAFE' Whaaaa!!! Man up, Kooks, its the real world. Water Cannons need to be BANNED, Whaaaa!!
14:57 December 28, 2010 by Jude the Obscure
Dear The Local,

Please stop showing us this photo. We like it when the police blinds people, and we like it when the government makes all the decisions for us without our consent. We think the police and whoever is in government deserves to be in control and we deserve to be physically abused when they do something we don't like. It serves us right.

Suggestion: instead of this gross picture, why not show us more calendars of naked girls so we can make dirty comments?

Yours sincerely,

The Local readers
17:05 December 28, 2010 by tallady
I saw the earlier photos of this man with something in his hand and his arm in a semi throwing position.he didn't look to dangerous ,but could be the photo.Water canons are very dangerous on the other "hand" and better methods of crowd control are needed here,this is tantamount to police brutality.,
06:30 December 29, 2010 by Eberhard
Clearly this is an absolute tragedy. Lessons will have to learned from this. I have never heard about anything like this happening before.

Hopefully a public inquiry is on its way..

Perhaps that will lead to a future ban of water canons?

My heart goes out to the victim.
08:13 December 29, 2010 by hOU
So if you throw a stone, a handful of gravel, a bottle at men in helmets and body armour or men sitting in what is effectively a tank - one should expect to be blasted in the face w/ a water canon?

Now if he had thrown a grenade, I'd see your point, but he didn't and the people above defending this force are shi-ts.
09:29 December 29, 2010 by tallady
Ya ,,if you live in China..
09:46 December 29, 2010 by storymann
There are much safer methods than a blast of water in the face,,tear gas ,reduced traction agents like foam and foam barriers..this could have been any ones fate ,not just the guy with chestnuts,or hand grenades. if the water cannon was so accurate as to hit this guy in the face ,then why there?, if not than why at all.
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