Sun 12 March 2023:
In response to Greece’s deadliest rail accident, which left dozens of people dead last month, thousands of people have demonstrated in central Athens.
The demonstrators demanded justice for those accountable for the February 28 head-on collision between a passenger train and a freight train that left 57 people dead and expressed outrage over safety flaws in Greece’s rail system. More than 8,000 protesters gathered outside the Parliament in Athens on Sunday, according to the police.
Protesters flooded Athens’s Syntagma Square, waving banners that read “We won’t forget, we won’t forgive” and “We will become the voice of all the dead”.
The protesters later marched to the offices of privatised train operator Hellenic Train. The company, which has been owned by Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane since 2017, isn’t responsible for the maintenance of the railway network. State-owned Hellenic Railways is in charge of upkeep.
Authorities shut down four metro stations on two lines running through central Athens because of the protest.
The rally was organised by civil servants, a pro-communist union and university students.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, about 5,000 people demonstrated.
The rallies on Sunday, which went off without a hitch, didn’t draw as many people as similar gatherings earlier in the week, when more than 30,000 people showed up in Athens and more than 20,000 in Thessaloniki.
The largest university in Greece, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, held a memorial service for the 12 students who perished in the train accident.
The country’s transportation minister and senior railway officials resigned the day after the crash, and a stationmaster accused of putting the trains on the same track has been charged with negligent homicide and other offenses.
On Thursday, workers in the public and private sectors are anticipated to strike once more.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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