Journalists‘ union Poesy said the strike was in support of “the nationwide demand to assign responsibility for the (train) crime and take all measures” to prevent further loss of life. Unions are also planning a general strike over the tragedy for 16 March, saying the crash exposed decades of safety failings in Greek railways. The tragedy has put major pressure on the conservative government ahead of national elections.
Police said about 12,000 demonstrators had gathered outside parliament on 12 March, while 5,000 took to the streets of Thessaloniki on the same day.
Government blames train crash on stationmaster
The incident occurred shortly before midnight on 28 February, when a passenger train crashed into a freight train in central Greece. Both were mistakenly left running on the same track. Most of the passengers were students returning from a holiday weekend. Meanwhile, several people are still in hospital, with one passenger fighting for his life.
Authorities have charged the stationmaster and three other railway officials. However, public anger has focused on long-running mismanagement of the network.
Greece’s transport minister resigned after the crash, and prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has sought to soothe public anger by repeatedly apologising and vowing a transparent probe. Acting transport minister Giorgos Gerapetritis said rail traffic will gradually resume from 22 March.
Gerapetritis and former transport ministers will appear before a parliament committee on Monday to answer MPs’ questions on the tragedy.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Unions blame an underfunded rail network
Mitsotakis had been expected to set an April election date. However, ballots are now expected in May. And with public anger mounting weeks before elections, the latest surveys show Mitsotakis has seen a 7.5-point lead in polls cut in half.
The prime minister has come under fire for initially pointing to “human error” for the accident and blaming the stationmaster on duty at the time, who allegedly routed the trains onto the same stretch of track by accident. However, railway unions had long been warning about problems on the underfunded and understaffed train network.
Featured image via DW News/YouTube
Additional reporting by Agence France-PresseSupport us and go ad-free
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.