March 21, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Greek train crash: Prime Minister Mitsotakis asks for forgiveness from families

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Police estimated that 12,000 people attended Sunday’s protest

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has asked for forgiveness from the families of the 57 victims of this week’s train accident.

In a Facebook message, Mitsotakis said that “in Greece in 2023… it is not possible for two trains heading in different directions to run on the same line and no one notices.”

The protests continued for days.

Clashes with police were reported on Sunday as thousands joined a demonstration in the capital, Athens.

Police estimated that 12,000 people attended the protest.

Some demonstrators set rubbish bins on fire and threw petrol bombs. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades, clearing central Syntagma Square of protesters within a few minutes.

Protesters reportedly launched hundreds of black balloons into the sky in memory of those killed, and some carried placards reading “Down with murderous governments”.

On the night of February 28, a passenger train and a freight train traveling in opposite directions ended up on the same track.

The first four carriages of the passenger train were derailed, and the first two caught fire and were almost completely destroyed.

The train accident has been widely attributed to human error.

Earlier this week, a 59-year-old station master in Larisa was charged with negligent manslaughter and is due to appear in court. His lawyer, Stefanos Pantzartzidis, said the station manager admitted his share of responsibility in the accident.

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The scene of the accident is near Larissa

Residents of Athens and Thessaloniki have joined the union members in taking to the streets for the past week, shocked at the scale of the disaster. The protests were also attended by many students – many of the passengers on one of the trains were students in their 20s returning to Thessaloniki after a long weekend in which they observed the Romanian Orthodox fast.

“The railway network seemed problematic, with rickety and poorly paid staff,” Nikos Savva, a Cypriot medical student, told AFP.

Train drivers in Greece said there have been long-standing problems with electronic systems that are supposed to warn them of danger ahead.

The Minister of Transport, Kostas Karamanlis, also tendered his resignation “as a sign of respect” for the people who died. Mr. Karamanlis was to blame for the government’s failure to modernize the country’s railways during his three-and-a-half years in power.

Immediately after the incident, the Greek government declared three days of national mourning and said that the cost of funerals for the victims would be paid for from the public treasury.