Greece’s Prime Minister on Sunday asked for forgiveness from the families of the 57 dead in the nation’s worst rail disaster as thousands of furious protesters rallied in Athens and clashed with police.
“As Prime Minister, I owe it to everyone, but especially to the victims’ relatives, (to ask for) forgiveness,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote in a message addressed to the nation.
“For the Greece of 2023, two trains heading in different directions cannot run on the same line and no one notice,” PM Mitsotakis said in the message posted on his Facebook page.
The crash between passenger and freight trains near the city of Larissa on Tuesday has sparked widespread outrage across Greece.
Thousands of angry demonstrators gathered outside the parliament in Athens on Sunday following a call by students, rail workers and public sector employees.
AFP journalists saw violent clashes erupt between police and the protesters.
They had released hundreds of black balloons into the sky in memory of the dead, with some holding signs reading “Down with killer governments”, while train and metro services were paralysed by strike action.
Michalis Hasiotis, head of the chartered accountants’ union, told AFP they felt “an immense anger”, blaming “the thirst for profit, the lack of measures taken for the passengers’ protection” for the disaster.
Relatives and loved ones of those killed were also expected to gather Sunday for a memorial outside Larissa station, central Greece, near the site of the accident.
The station master implicated in the disaster was due in court on Sunday, a hearing postponed from the previous day, where he may face charges of negligent homicide.