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Train disaster in Greece | “We will not forget, we will not forgive”



(ATHENS) Thousands of people demonstrated in Greece on Sunday following the country’s deadliest train crash, increasing pressure on the government.

At the call of several unions and political parties, some 12,000 protesters gathered in Athens and 5,000 took to the streets of Thessaloniki, the country’s second city, according to the police count.

In the capital, protesters occupied Syntagma Square, near Parliament, with banners reading: “We will not forget, we will not forgive” and “We will be the voices of all the dead”.

The collision between two trains which occurred on February 28 in Tempé, 350 km north of Athens, claimed the lives of 57 people.

“It was anger and rage that brought me here,” said Markella, a 65-year-old living in Athens who declined to be named.

“We are desperate. We don’t know what to say, what to do, all we can do is participate in the demonstration,” said Alexandros, 26, also on condition of anonymity.

The police reported in a press release an “isolated incident”, “a small group” which “thrown marbles, stones and other objects” at officers, without causing injuries. Ten people were arrested.

Four railway officials are being prosecuted over the crash, which has highlighted chronic problems in Greece’s rail network.

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

The biggest demonstration took place on Wednesday, with 65,000 people taking to the streets to demand accountability from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

His resignation was demanded by protesters. He had been criticized for initially pointing to “human error” due to a station master, one of the four employees prosecuted.

But the unions have long warned of the lack of personnel in the railways and the delays in the modernization of safety systems.

Greece’s transport minister resigned after the crash and Mr Mitsotakis sought to assuage public anger by repeatedly apologizing and promising a transparent investigation.

For weeks, the Greek press has been buzzing with rumors about the date of the election, April 9 being so far the most often chosen by observers. But most analysts now believe that the elections should be held later, perhaps at the end of May.

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