March 28, 2023

The station grasp concerned in Greece’s worst-ever practice catastrophe will seem in court docket on Saturday, as mass protests broke out over the crash that killed not less than 57 individuals,

1000’s of protesters have demonstrated throughout the nation since Tuesday’s collision between a passenger practice and a freight practice, with public anger mounting over the federal government’s failure to handle the rail community.

The 59-year-old station grasp at Larissa, central Greece, has admitted duty for the accident, which noticed the 2 trains run alongside the identical monitor for a number of kilometres.

The practice was carrying many college students coming back from a vacation weekend and not less than 9 younger individuals learning at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle College have been among the many useless, whereas one other 26 have been injured.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who’s in search of re-election this spring, has blamed the catastrophe on “tragic human error”.

However protests blaming authorities mismanagement continued on Friday within the capital, Athens, and several other main cities throughout Greece, with extra deliberate for the weekend.

“What occurred was not an accident, it was a criminal offense,” Sophia Hatzopoulou, 23, a philosophy scholar in Thessaloniki who was visibly indignant, advised the AFP information company. “We won’t watch all this occur and stay detached.”

She added that she and her classmates “knew individuals who have been killed or wounded”.

“It is as if part of us have been misplaced.”

The station grasp is because of seem in court docket on expenses of negligent murder. He faces life imprisonment if discovered responsible, however his lawyer has argued that different elements have been at play.

“My consumer has assumed his share of duty,” lawyer Stefanos Pantzartzidis mentioned on Thursday. “However we should not deal with a tree when there’s a forest behind it.”

The nation’s public broadcaster ERT reported that the station grasp had been appointed to the put up solely 40 days earlier – and after simply three months’ coaching.

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1000’s gathered on Friday outdoors the Athens headquarters of operators Hellenic Practice – which took over community operations in 2017 – to protest at a long time of failure to enhance rail community security, regardless of shut calls in previous years.

Tons of of individuals noticed a minute of silence outdoors the Greek parliament in tribute to the victims of the catastrophe.

On the rally in Syntagma Sq., adjoining to parliament, officers fired tear fuel and stun grenades at protesters throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, an AFP reporter mentioned. About 3,000 individuals turned out for the demonstration.

An analogous quantity was demonstrated in Thessaloniki – Greece’s second largest metropolis – the place police had reported clashes on Thursday with demonstrators throwing stones and petrol bombs.

Demonstrations additionally came about in different Greek cities on Friday: about 700 turned out in Larissa, the city closest to the location of the catastrophe, whereas 500 demonstrated within the college city of Patras within the southwest Peloponnese, in line with police.

Roubini Leontari, the chief coroner at Larissa’s common hospital, advised ERT on Thursday that greater than 10 individuals have been nonetheless unaccounted for, together with two Cypriots.

Greece’s practice providers have been paralyzed on Thursday by placing employees arguing that successive administrations’ mismanagement of the community had contributed to the deadly collision.

That strike continued into Friday and is about to proceed for one more 48 hours.

A woman holds a placard that reads "Call me when you arrive" during a protest in the port city of Thessaloniki, northern Greece
A lady holds a placard that reads ‘Name me if you arrive’ throughout a protest within the port metropolis of Thessaloniki, northern Greece [Giannis Papanikos/AP Photo]

Rail unions say security issues on the Athens-Thessaloniki railway line had been identified for years.

Authorized sources instructed that investigators have been contemplating felony expenses in opposition to members of Hellenic Practice’s administration.

Police seized audio information and different gadgets throughout a raid on the Larissa practice station in central Greece, the place the crash occurred, a judicial supply mentioned.

For many years, Greece’s 2,552km (1,585-mile) rail community has been stricken by mismanagement, poor upkeep and out of date gear.

After the nation’s transport minister resigned on Wednesday within the wake of the crash, his alternative, Giorgos Gerapetritis, promised a “full analysis of the political system and the state”.

Security programs on the road are nonetheless not absolutely automated, 5 years later the state-owned Greek rail operator TrainOSE was privatized and bought to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and have become Hellenic Practice.

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