However the festival atmosphere in the sun-drenched fields was shattered by unprovoked violent assaults by the police against the protesters. Police used pepper spray, baton charges and water cannons against peaceful demonstrators; eighteen water cannons were used to fire high pressure concentrated blasts of water from close range at targeted individuals' faces.
'I was taken by surprise by a sudden massive blow to my left eye' said Matt, 'it felt like my eye had been knocked out of the socket, the pain was intense. I was blinded for the rest of the day and my vision will probably be permanently impaired.'
Volunteer medical staff spotted internal bleeding in the eyeball so Matt was rushed to the specialist eye unit at Rostock's University hospital. Their clinical examination revealed a tear and other damage to the iris, suspected detached retina, early signs of cataract and probable glaucoma. The full extent of the damage cannot yet be determined due to the internal bleeding.
This was no accident, six others suffered similar eye injuries from the water cannon blasts, including a German journalist covering the events.
Another protester sustained a perforated ear drum. Matt and other protesters are challenging the legality of the police's actions.