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Train collision in Greece | The government accused of “evading its responsibilities”



(Athens) The leader of the main Greek opposition party Alexis Tsipras on Friday accused the conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “evading responsibility” and “concealing the truth” in the train accident that killed 57 people.

“Running from responsibility […]it is an attempt to conceal the truth”, indicated the former prime minister (2015-2019) of the radical left Syriza, assuring that “the whole of Greek society demands truth and justice”.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday promised “absolute transparency” in the investigation into this collision which occurred on February 28 in Tempé, about 350 km north of Athens.

The head of government, faced with a wave of anger from the Greeks since this disaster, has assumed “responsibility” for this accident, the worst in the country. But he stressed that “all” were “to blame”, thus placing the blame on the various governments in recent years who have been slow to modernize railway safety systems.

“The National Tragedy in Tempe […] is not a question of controversy between the parties but a question of collective confrontation of society with those who try to hide the truth”, castigated Alexis Tsipras.


The leader of the main Greek opposition party Alexis Tsipras

The accident was partly due to “human error”, as Mr. Mitsotakis repeated. The station manager of Larissa, a town close to the accident, was thus placed in pre-trial detention. Three other railway employees are also being prosecuted in this case.

But this accident, which affected mostly young people, sparked massive protests against the Conservative government as a general election looms before July.

A new demonstration by students of music schools took place on Friday in Syntagma Square below Parliament in central Athens in memory of the victims of the tragedy.

On Sunday, the mainly communist unions called for a new demonstration in Athens.

“Society is in mourning but also angry” and “losing its confidence in the institutions”, acknowledged the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, during a meeting with the Prime Minister.

The government announced on Friday evening a package of financial aid to comfort the families of victims who will also benefit from the cancellation of any tax or bank debts, according to ministerial sources.

The accident brought to light the chronic problems of the Greek railways.

Experts have criticized the split of the public train company (OSE) during the financial crisis of the last decade and the privatization of the transport sector, imposed then by Greece’s creditors (EU and IMF).

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