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Switzerland: 11 injured by lasers, including 3 policemen, at famed Zurich Street Parade

Eleven eye injuries due to lasers were reported during the August 10-11 2013 Street Parade in Zurich, which attracted 950,000 revelers.

Three policemen were among those reporting injuries. Two of the policemen were examined due to acute symptoms.

According to a spokesperson, this is the first time that laser “weapons” have been used in the Street Parade.

Partially as a result, within a few days a Swiss police association called for classification of higher-powered laser pointers as weapons.
From 20 Minuten (original German text and Google-translated English text also reprinted below).

Two policemen with acute symptoms

Unknown persons blinded by laser pointers in the eyes of the Street Parade three policemen. Two officers suffer from acute symptoms. Laser attacks on the police have generally increased.

On the Street Parade, a new dangerous phenomenon has emerged: police and ravers have dazzled visitors with power laser pointers in the eyes. Lifelong damage is not thereby excluded.

"Around midnight from Saturday to Sunday, three policemen were blinded to the patrol car through the window with laser beams in the eye," says Marco Bisa, spokesman for the Zurich police. The health status of civil servants is still unclear. "Two of the people involved had to be examined today Monday because of acute symptoms." In the two other police officers further medical investigation is carried out in a few days. Also five visitors to the Street Parade have been victims of laser attacks, they had to be examined by paramedics of protection and rescue.

«Perpetrators should be held accountable»

Bisa warns: "This laser attacks can lead to very dangerous situations." Especially when attacking people behind the wheel, this could have serious consequences. "We condemn these attacks, and if the perpetrators can be identified, they appear consistent with the competent authority."

Urs Eberle, a spokesman for protection and rescue Zurich, has dealt with his team at the Street Parade total of 11 eye injuries. How many of them were laser injury is not yet known. "We can, in such cases, the eyes do not provide medical care, most lay anything to alleviate it.» The symptoms are different - from overexposure to mist shadow over everything is possible. This could be down again after a few hours or days. However, he recommend any interested parties, the next day to see a doctor. "A long-running laser attack can lead to blindness, damage the retina and affect the visual acuity for life."

«Everyone knows that lasers are dangerous»

It was the first time that people have used in the Street Parade as laser weapons, as Eberle. That was gross negligence and have nothing to do with nonsense. "These people knowingly endanger the health of others." No one today can claim he did not know that lasers can be more dangerous. "That would be like if someone says he was not aware of the knife cut."

Also around football games comes the laser pointers are becoming increasingly common. "It already Zurich police officers were attacked with appearances at sporting events," confirms Bisa. In Basel, the phenomenon of laser pointers has also risen sharply in recent years. Only in June, a police officer was permanently injured on the eye, since he suffers at a black dot in the visual field, which originates from an injury to his scarred eye, as srf.ch writes.

«Also, paramedics and firefighters will target»

"We know these attacks since November 2009 and have since unfortunately more and more to do with it," says Martin Schütz, spokesman for the Canton of Basel-City Police. Especially on illegal parties, demonstrations, football matches, but also in normal service officers are blended with the red rays. "Firefighters and paramedics are also already been the target of such attacks," says contactor. Therefore, we have responded in the education and training it and the officers to school react properly in such situations. "In addition, various glasses are currently being evaluated for protection against laser pointers and tested for use."

In Switzerland is the maximum allowable value of laser pointers in five milliwatts. "The most powerful laser ever seized exceeded this value by more than 400 times," says contactor. Already a normal laser pointer for office one could cause partial blindness when it directly targets the eye, says Heinz Metzger, Managing Director of Laser Eye Centers in Uster. Depending on the quality and certification could occur within a short time a hole in the retina, which then perceives the person concerned as a black dot. "This is life imprisonment."