Over 60,000 people attend protests in Greece after deadly train crash

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Over 60,000 people marched in central Athens, Greece on Wednesday to protest the train crash at Tempi last week that left 57 people dead, mostly young students.

Labor unions and student associations organised the demonstrations, while strikes halted ferries to the islands and public transportation services in Athens.

Demonstrators gathering in front of the Parliament at Syntagma square on Wednesday. Photo: AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris.

Demonstrators marching to parliament in Athens waved signs reading, “It’s not an accident, it’s a crime” and “It could have been any of us on that train.” Others chanted “Murderers!” and “We are all in the same carriage.”

Violence briefly broke out when a group of protesters clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas at the crowd. Protesters hurled petrol bombs in front of parliament and set a van and rubbish bins on fire.

In Thessaloniki, more than 20,000 joined rallies and clashes broke out when youths challenged a police cordon.

In the central city of Larissa, near the scene of the train collision, students holding black balloons chanted “No to profits over our lives!”

Protests in Athens. Photo: Protothema.

Amid these protests, Greece’s new Transport Minister, Giorgos Gerapetritis, pledged on Wednesday to have the railroads up and running again, saying it was vital that the public regain its trust in a mode of travel that was both popular and inexpensive.

Rail services in Greece have been suspended since the train crash which saw a high-speed passenger train with more than 350 people on board crash head-on with a freight train near the city of Larissa last Tuesday.

Greece’s new Transport Minister, Giorgos Gerapetritis. Photo: InTime.

Gerapetritis said the government will also step up the implementation of a contract for the automatic operation and signalling of the railway network. He said Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has contacted the head of French train maker and manufacturing group, Alstom, over the issue.

Mitsotakis met on Wednesday with Executive Director of the European Union Agency for Railways, Josef Doppelbauer, and other EU officials.

Mitsotakis met with EU officials.

They set out some suggestions that could be used in drawing up a plan to improve the railroad network’s operation and safety, upgrading infrastructure, adopting best practices, and using EU funding most efficiently, noted government sources.

Mitsotakis underlined that he will fully utilise the expertise and experience of European services in the context of the fully transparent investigation into the Tempi train disaster.

READ MORE: Greek communities in Australia send condolences after Greece’s deadly train crash.

Source: The Guardian.

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