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Blinded Stuttgart 21 protestor wants apology

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Blinded Stuttgart 21 protestor wants apology
Photo: DPA
11:01 CET+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

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