Greece train crash: Protests flare despite apology from Greek PM
A deadly train collision sparked fresh protests in Greece on Sunday, despite an apology from the prime minister.
In a statement, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, “We cannot, will not and will not hide behind human error,” after the crash, which killed 57 people.
A passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train in Tempi, near the city of Larissa, on Tuesday evening, the country’s worst train accident in years.
The collision has sparked outrage over safety standards on the Greek railway network. Sunday’s protests were just the latest, with police firing tear gas at protesters gathered outside the parliament in Athens.
“This crime must not be covered up, we will be the voice of all the dead,” read one of the slogans.
In a statement released Sunday, Mitsotakis said it should not be possible for two trains running in opposite directions “to be on the same track and not be noticed.”
“As Prime Minister, I owe everyone, but most of all the relatives of the victims, a deep regret. Both personally, and in the name of all those who ruled the country for years,” Mitsotakis said.
The reference to human error marks the Prime Minister’s change of tone. After the collision he blamed “tragic human error”.
His latest statement however suggests systematic problems in the Greek railway network, promising announcements “to urgently improve railway safety” in the coming days.
On Thursday, after a train station manager in Larissa was arrested in connection with the collision, Greek authorities made public dispatch recordings that revealed one of the train drivers involved received instructions to ignore a red light. were done
Greece has a poor railway passenger safety record compared to other countries in Europe, recording the highest railway fatality rate per million rail kilometers of the continent’s 28 countries from 2018 to 2020, according to the European Union Agency for Railways’ 2022 According to the report of
The head-on collision resulted in collapses and scorched debris. Many of the young people on board were returning home from a holiday weekend.
The country’s transport minister resigned in the wake of the tragedy and a rail workers’ union went on strike, accusing the government of neglecting the system.