Tens of hundreds of individuals marched in Greece on Wednesday to protest over the nation’s deadliest practice catastrophe on report, as staff staged a nationwide, day-long walkout.
The crash on Feb 28 killed 57 individuals and has stirred public outrage over the crumbling state of the rail community. Putting staff say years of neglect, underinvestment and understaffing — a legacy of Greece’s decade-long debt disaster — are guilty.
Greater than 40,000 individuals, amongst them transport staff, college students and lecturers, marched in central Athens chanting “Murderers!” and “We’re all in the identical carriage”.
A gaggle of protesters clashed with police, who fired tear fuel on the crowd.
1000’s additionally took to the streets in Greece’s second-biggest metropolis of Thessaloniki, the place a gaggle of protesters hurled stones at a authorities constructing.
The protests coincided with a 24-hour strike referred to as by staff of various sectors, which disrupted journey throughout the nation.
Lots of the round 350 individuals aboard an intercity passenger practice that collided head-on with a freight practice whereas travelling on the identical monitor have been college college students heading north to Thessaloniki from Athens.
The catastrophe has sparked protests throughout Greece over the previous week.
“Message me once you get there,” a placard in Athens learn, echoing what has turn out to be one of many protest slogans.
“You are feeling offended as a result of the federal government did nothing for all of these youngsters. The general public transport is a multitude,” mentioned 19-year-old Nikomathi Vathi.
“We’re going to be right here till issues change,” mentioned one other pupil, Vaggelis Somarakis. “We’re the youth of this nation and we’re not going to cease.”
The conservative authorities, was initially planning to name elections within the coming weeks, promised on Wednesday to repair the ailing railway system.
Transport Minister George Gerapetritis informed a information convention he understood the anger the accident had brought about.
“No practice will set off once more, if we have now not secured security on the most doable stage,” he mentioned, apologising for Greece’s deadliest rail crash on report.
‘No time for silence’
Rail staff have staged rolling, 24-hour strikes since Thursday, bringing the community to a halt. On Wednesday, the federal government additionally suspended the service whereas it opinions security.
The employees say their calls for for enchancment in security protocols have gone unheard for years and have promised to “impose security” to make sure that a crash won’t be repeated.
“We have now an obligation in the direction of our fellow people and our colleagues who have been misplaced within the tragic accident,” the principle railway staff’ union mentioned.
Greece’s largest public sector union ADEDY participated within the 24-hour strike.
Metropolis transport staff walked off the job in solidarity, disrupting metro, tram and bus providers within the capital. Ships additionally remained docked at ports as seamen participated within the labour motion.
“It’s not the time to fall silent,” a lecturers’ union mentioned in an announcement.
The federal government, whose time period expires in July, has blamed the crash primarily on human error and deficiencies it says haven’t been mounted over the previous many years.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has handed the portfolio to Gerapetritis, one in all his closest allies. Gerapetritis mentioned rail passenger providers could resume by the tip of March if security is secured.
He mentioned funds could be invested in upgrading infrastructure and hiring employees, and in addition promised to shed gentle to the causes of the crash.
Gerapetritis was as a result of meet transport consultants from the European Fee, which has mentioned it’s going to supply technical help, afterward Wednesday.
Greece bought its state-owned railway operator, now referred to as Hellenic Practice, to Italy’s state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane in 2017 throughout its debt disaster.
The sale was a time period within the nation’s bailout agreements with the European Union and the Washington-based Worldwide Financial Fund.