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The Prime Minister of Greece asks for forgiveness from the families of the victims of the train disaster, and the demonstrations demanding justice continue


A new demonstration in Athens in honor of the memory of the victims of the train accident, and the station manager gives his testimony

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked for forgiveness from the families of the victims in an official address Sunday after the train disaster that killed 57 people and sparked outrage in Greece.

“As prime minister, I owe it to everyone, especially to the relatives of the victims, to (ask) forgiveness,” he wrote in a letter addressed to the Greeks, which he posted privately on his Facebook account.

“In Greece in 2023, two trains cannot go in opposite directions on the same line without being noticed,” he added.

The conservative prime minister emphasized that “we cannot, do not want, and should not hide behind human error,” attributed to the station manager.

The prime minister will attend a morning mass at the Orthodox Cathedral in Athens, where all the country’s churches have planned to honor the memory of the victims of what authorities described as a “national tragedy”.

Violent clashes in Athens between police and demonstrators

Violent clashes erupted Sunday between police and demonstrators in front of the parliament in Athens during a protest rally after the train accident in Greece that killed 57 people on Tuesday night, according to AFP correspondents.

Demonstrators set rubbish containers on fire and threw Molotov cocktails, while police responded by throwing tear gas and stun grenades in the center of the Greek capital, according to AFP correspondents.

Thousands gathered in Athens on Sunday morning to honor the memory of the 57 people killed in the train disaster that occurred this week near Larissa, as the station manager prepares to testify before the Greek judiciary.

Students and employees of the railways and the public sector gathered Sunday in Syntagma Square, opposite Parliament, to demonstrate. As for the families of the victims, they intend to gather near the scene of the disaster, five days after it occurred, at Tempe Station.

Sunday will also hold a judicial hearing for the station manager (59 years), who is suspected of making a fatal mistake that led to the accident on Tuesday evening. The Greek judiciary postponed it on Saturday.

It is assumed that the investigating judge in Larissa, the nearest town to the scene of the accident, will decide at the end of the session whether to accuse him of “manslaughter by negligence.”

The anger has not subsided since the accident. Hundreds of demonstrators quietly gathered in Athens and Thessaloniki on Saturday night at the invitation of the Communist Youth.

The station manager, whose identity was not disclosed, received only forty days of training before assuming his duties.

A judicial source stated that the investigation also aims to “initiate criminal proceedings, if necessary, against members of the management of the Hellenic Train” railway company.

This accident is the third among the accidents with the largest number of deaths in Europe in 25 years, after a train derailed in 1991 in Germany (101 dead) and a train accident in Spain in 2013 in which eighty people were killed.

Alone and inexperienced

Kathimerini daily reported that the judiciary is seeking to understand how an inexperienced stationmaster found himself, alone without anyone else’s supervision, at Larisa station for four days when rail traffic on this line was heavy due to a long weekend associated with an Orthodox holiday.

The Greek authorities conducted a raid on Friday at Larissa station.

The government also decided to appoint a committee of experts to investigate the causes of the accident.

Since the day after the disaster, Greeks have taken to the streets to express their anger, accusing the authorities of negligence and condemning the deterioration of the railway infrastructure.

And the burial of the victims began in an atmosphere of great sadness.

This disaster caused tragedy in Greece, especially because a large number of the victims were young students returning from a long weekend to Thessaloniki, the large university city in the north.

The anger led to clashes in Athens and Thessaloniki. On Friday evening, the police used tear gas and stun grenades in these two cities.


The anger is directed at Hellenic Train first. The word “killers” was written in red letters on the facade of the company’s headquarters in Athens, where more than 5,000 angry people gathered Friday to demand accountability.

The company is accused of a number of negligence and negligence cases that led to this disaster, which the authorities described as a “national tragedy”.

The company defended itself on Saturday evening, stressing that it “was present from the first moment on the scene” and had set up “a call center (…) to provide information.”

The company also confirmed that it manages the transport of passengers and goods, while the Greek Public Railways Company (OSSI) bears responsibility for the network, including its maintenance and modernization.

The company’s union representatives issued a warning three weeks ago, stressing, “We will not wait for an accident to see officials shed crocodile tears.”

Greek youth are demanding the truth despite the government’s admission of responsibility for the “chronic” problems of the railway network that led to the accident.

“We are very outraged and we cannot accept that such a tragic event will happen in 2023,” said student union president Angelos Thomopoulos.

Trains stopped running Thursday and Friday after a strike was called by the railway unions. The Friday invitation was renewed for another 48 hours.

The Athens metro plans to strike again on Sunday after the first strike on Thursday.

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