During blockades of the West Gate during the G8 summit police used water canons mixed with pepper spray excessively. A number of serious eye and ear injuries were reported including Matt from Liverpool. The force of the jet of water was so serve that his eye came out of its socket. Matt has been left blinded in one eye.
Matt was discharged from hospital in Rostock but faces months of operations and discomfort from his injury. A CAT scan has revealed that he had sustained internal bleeding, extensive damage to his Iris and possible damage to his retina.He faces future operations, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Matt has been told that because of the internal bleeding it would be between six to eight weeks before they could assess the damage to his retina but warned that permanent harm had been caused and that he will never fully regain the vision in that eye.
Matt said: “I went to Germany to take part in a protest and to be honest at the start of the day there was a very jolly, almost carnival, atmosphere.
“There were three lines of police and all of a sudden things got more aggressive.
“There were a few baton charges so all the protesters just linked arms and stood firm. It was all still very peaceful.
“I have never seen water cannons before and all of a sudden there were eight or nine of them. The police made an announcement in German but none of us understood it and then we were fired at.
“I was knocked to the floor at first and then when I got up I was hit right in the face.
“The pain was incredible. My eye had come out and I just ran off holding it to find an ambulance.”
Matt was one of seven protesters and a German journalist who were taken to Rostock University Hospital with eye injuries.
He said one protester had also been knocked unconscious by the water cannons and another suffered a perforated ear drum.
Matt added: “They were using water cannons as weapons, which they are not supposed to do.
“Their actions were deliberate and vindictive and completely unnecessary.
“I went there to express my feelings peacefully as I am entitled to do. What they did to me was absolutely dis- graceful. Doctors can’t believe what they have done to me.
“The German activists we spoke to said they have never before seen the police use this type of water cannon or fire at people heads.”
Friends and fellow campaigners of Matt are looking into ways of suing the German police and will campaign for a stop to water cannons being fired at protesters’ heads.
For more information and to support Matt please contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org