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Photos: Thousands protest in Athens after deadly train crash

Short-lived clashes erupted on Sunday between police and a group of protesters in central Athens on the sidelines of a protest by thousands of students and railway workers over Greece’s deadliest train accident in living memory.

A small group of protesters threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas and hand grenades before dispersing to nearby streets.

At least 57 people were killed and dozens injured on Tuesday when a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided with a freight train on the same track in central Greece.

Following protests across the country over the past three days, some 10,000 students, railway workers and groups affiliated with leftist parties gathered in a square in Athens on Sunday to express their condolences for the lost lives and to demand better safety standards on the railway network. to demand.

“That crime will not be forgotten,” protesters shouted as they launched black balloons into the air. A sign read: “Their policy has cost lives.”

The train, traveling from Athens to the northern city of Thessaloniki, was packed with university students returning after a long holiday weekend. The disaster has sparked a wave of anger and a sharp focus on safety standards.

Rail workers, who also lost colleagues in the accident, have staged alternating strikes since Wednesday to denounce cost cutting and underinvestment in rail infrastructure, a legacy of Greece’s debilitating debt crisis from 2010 to 2018.

The government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis blames human error for the crash. However, Mitsotakis said on Sunday that human error should not distract from responsibilities for a long-suffering rail network.

“As prime minister, I owe everyone, but especially the families of the victims, an apology,” he wrote on Facebook. “Justice will investigate the tragedy very quickly and determine liabilities.”

A stationmaster in the nearby town of Larissa who was on duty at the time of the accident has been charged this week with endangering lives and disrupting public transport.

The stationmaster, who cannot be named under Greek law, appeared before a magistrate on Sunday after his lawyer asked for extra time on Saturday to respond to the charges following new information about the case. Those proceedings are still ongoing.

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