More than 40,000 protest over Greek train tragedy
Source: Latest News
“We hope that things will change in these elections,” Hatzitheodorou, who works in the private sector, told AFP.
A stationmaster and three other railway officials have been charged, but public anger has focused on long-running mismanagement of the network and the country has been rocked by a series of sometimes violent mass protests.
Last week, about 65,000 people took part in demonstrations around the country, including around 40,000 in Athens.
In addition to the 57 people who were killed, several victims remain in hospital, including one passenger who is fighting for his life.
The Italian state-owned company operating rail services in Greece, Hellenic Train, said those hurt in the accident and the families of the dead would each between €5,000 and €42,000 (US$44,600) “to cover immediate needs”.
“This is in no way an admission of responsibility” the company stressed late Wednesday.
The father of one passenger who died rejected the offer.
“We don’t want their money … this was mass murder, I refuse to accept an apology from murderers,” Pavlos Aslanidis told Alpha TV on Thursday.
“Had this been a serious country, everybody at the transport ministry would be in handcuffs,” he said.
Greece’s transport minister resigned after the crash and Mitsotakis has sought to soothe public anger by repeatedly apologising and vowing a transparent probe.
Rail traffic ground to a complete halt across the country after the accident, although acting Transport Minister Georgios Gerapetritis said this week that services would gradually resume from Mar 22.
Gerapetritis said a report by experts investigating the tragedy will be delivered in a month’s time.
Investigators have separately opened a probe into possible railway funds mismanagement over the last 15 years.
Gerapetritis and former transport ministers will appear before a parliamentary committee next Monday to answer lawmakers’ questions on the tragedy.
With public anger mounting before elections expected in May, Mitsotakis has seen a 7.5-point lead in the polls slashed to just over three percent in recent surveys.
He has come under fire for blaming “human error” for the accident and the stationmaster on duty at the time, who allegedly routed the trains onto the same stretch of track by accident.
But railway unions had long been warning about problems on the underfunded and understaffed train network.
Mitsotakis had been expected to set an April election date. Ballots are now expected in May.
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