This Thursday, March 16, Greece experiences its second general strike and a new day of protests over the accident of two trains, which on March 1 left 57 people dead. Although authorities point to “human error” as the cause of the accident, protesters and transport unions accuse successive governments of ignoring demands to improve the safety standards of the rail system.
A general strike paralyzes Greece while clashes between protesters and the public force grow in the streets.
Social discontent is revived at a time when citizens point out that the Government has not recognized its alleged responsibility in the frontal collision between two trains, one freight and one passenger, which left 57 people dead on March 1; the accident deadliest railway train in history from the country.
As a result of the protests, heFlights to and from Greece have been grounded, ships remain docked in ports and public services and public schools have closed.
Urban transport was also disrupted and taxi drivers joined the strike.
Dozens of people laid flowers and candles at the central train station in Athens, while others carried banners with the slogans of the protests in different cities.
This is the second 24-hour work stoppage called by the nation’s largest unions since the incident was recorded.
Human error or government responsibility?
The authorities affirm that the accident was the product of “human error”, since they question the circumstances that led the passenger train – with 350 people on board – en route to the northern city of Thessaloniki, to circulate for several kilometers along the same route. rail line of the train carrying containers coming from the opposite direction.
In this case, four railway workers have been arrested and accused of disrupting public transport causing deaths.
However, the protesters refute the official version and point to the responsibility of the Government because they maintain that successive administrations have ignored Repeated demands to improve safety standards.
“It was not a human error, it was a crime” and “Our dead, your gains,” said some banners held by protesters outside the Parliament in Athens.
Citizens point out that for the past decade, authorities have delayed a plan to install security systems on the country’s 2,500km rail network.
A security supervisor who resigned last year, quoted by Reuters, warned that infrastructure improvements pending since 2016 were incomplete and train speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour were unsafe.
Greece sold rail operator TrainOSE to Italy’s Ferrovie dello Stato and became Hellenic Train, under its international bailout program in 2017, expecting hundreds of millions of euros to be invested in rail infrastructure over the next few years.
But five years after that operation, hundreds of workers say that the security systems on the Athens-Thessaloniki line are still not fully automated.
With Reuters and AFP