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Mappus feels 'no guilt' for water cannon blinding

The Local · 19 Jan 2011, 14:02

Published: 19 Jan 2011 14:02 GMT+01:00

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The 66-year-old protestor Dietrich Wagner is almost completely blind after being hit in the face by a police water cannon during a demonstration in September against controversial plans to revamp the city's main train station.

The photo of the bloodied pensioner being helped away from the scene has become a rallying point for opponents of the massive rail project known as Stuttgart 21.

In late December the retired engineer told Stern news magazine that had lost his independence and demanded an apology from state premier Mappus to the people of Stuttgart.

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

But in an interview excerpt released ahead of publication this week's Die Zeit, Mappus said he had “no feelings of guilt at all” over Wagner’s injury.

“Naturally I feel sorry for the man,” he told the newspaper. “But he was led away from the site several times by police. He was told that it could be dangerous, but he returned repeatedly.”

In the Stern interview Wagner insisted he bore no responsibility for his injuries, as police had previously suggested, releasing a video of Wagner throwing objects at officers. He said he had expected to get wet or bruised, “but not to be blasted blind.”

Mappus was vague about the question of blame.

Story continues below…

“I find it inappropriate to speak about blame when it comes to someone with severe injuries,” he told Die Zeit. “But I also find it illegitimate to place the blame on others.”

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.

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Your comments about this article

14:40 January 19, 2011 by storymann
This article or it's predecessor was commented on more than enough last time out...
15:01 January 19, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
well, why not let the people judge Mappus's guilt - in the elections this year... he and his CDU/FDP coalition are still trailing in the polls by a notable margin, which still has a lot to do with Stuttgart21.

I'm really not a fan of the SPD and the Greens - but Mappus deserves to be voted out. And after 50-odd years of CDU rule, it would just be refreshing to see somebody else rule Baden-Wuerttemberg.
15:10 January 19, 2011 by tallady
you have a point,,but if memory serves me correct,,most of the comments were negative towards the victim ,,.
15:19 January 19, 2011 by marimay
That would be kinda weird not to feel any guilt at all for destroying someones sight, even if they deserved to get the water cannon.

But, I do not think I am surprised either.
18:35 January 19, 2011 by Landmine
What on earth did Wagner expect, time out in the corner???? It is always amazing to hear people take no responsibility for their actions.
19:04 January 19, 2011 by mixxim
Was Mappus ex Stasi? We could give him a job using 'ways .of making you talk' in Afghanistan....
20:05 January 19, 2011 by coot
The problem with "non-lethal weapons" is that they create unreasonable expectations.

In this case, the expectation was that a water cannon would never hurt anybody. When the police are attacked by the crowd, it is better that they respond with a water cannon than with bullets, but it is unreasonable to think that nobody will get hurt.

If you say the premier should feel guilty, you have a responsibility: Tell us what action he should have taken to prevent this. Should he tell the police "Do not respond at all when you are attacked"? Should he tell the police "Always allow a mob of protesters to interfere with actions the government and the courts have approved"?
22:48 January 19, 2011 by freechoice
Wow a state premier without feelings?

We are so fortunate to have him keeping the people in check!
02:45 January 20, 2011 by DOZ
Typical of the New World Police Society.

12:53 January 20, 2011 by Kaaihueh
It's hard to believe that anyone in office says he's no guilt for this mans injury. Probably with any media, they pick and choose and "cut and paste.". As a law enforcement backgrounded person I believe in use of non lethal methods to mitigate potential for violence. It's just unfortunate that this guy was injured to such degree. I'm sure any political figure should know that their sole existence is to serve the pubic. Well, if he did say that then don't vote for him again or his party.
17:55 January 20, 2011 by derExDeutsche
This mans fury and rage, which led him to this protest in front of the water canon, poked his own fingers into his eyes, and gouged them out. All in hope of blaming that cruel cruel water canon, and those cruel cruel developers and their police state.

That is my honest belief. If I am wrong, show me another such injury from a water canon.
09:11 January 23, 2011 by storymann
I agree der ExDeutsche,, it's an eye for an eye...high pressure water in the face from a fire hose ?,,I think he did it while the water was being blasted into his face. He must have known in advance that the hose operator would target him and his handful of chestnuts,,,some people just want attention and love to steal the show.
10:52 January 23, 2011 by Yontrop
ExDeutsche, You don't think the water canon could have caused the injury? How about volunteering for a test of your theory. Same water canon, same distance...oh but first you would have to learn to open your eyes. That might be a problem.
04:45 June 1, 2013 by Valladolid
I'm from Valladolid (Spain).

IMHO, most of these projects are a thief for citizens. In the real state Spanish bubble there was a lot of projects like this. In my city there was one. Fortunately, the crisis stooped it.

Most of these projects are ruinous. The construction costs grows and grows, lots of railway heritage (old buildings, old warehouses...) is lost and the underground stations (and tracks) are more expensive to operate than a conventional station. Also, underground stations doesn't allow historic trains (diesel bad, steam forbidden). The station is converted into a shopping mall with zero historic value.

¡Say no to these projects!
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