Twenty injured after ‘overloaded’ escalator slides backwards


More than 50,000 protesters in Greece after railway tragedy

More than 50,000 protesters took to the streets across Greece on Wednesday and workers staged massive strikes, expressing anger at the country’s worst railway tragedy and urging the prime minister to resign. At least 57 people were killed and 14 others are still in hospital after a freight train crashed head-on with a passenger train, mostly carrying students, on February 28. Protesters in Athens waved signs reading “it’s not an accident, it’s a crime” and “it could have been any of us on that train”. , police said up to 53,000 protesters across the country had taken to the streets to protest the accident. “I am here to pay tribute to the dead, but also to express my anger and my frustration,” Athenian Niki Siouta, a 54-year-old civil engineer, told AFP. “This government must go.” There were about 30,000 protesters in Athens, 15,000 in Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki and 10,000 in the western port city of Patras, a police spokeswoman told AFP. Forty n people were detained in the capital for questioning on suspicion of offenses including carrying flares, she added. Alongside the protesters, Greek officials staged a 24-hour strike, while doctors, teachers, bus drivers and ferry crew members also went on strike. Railways were paralyzed as train workers extended the strike action launched in the aftermath of the accident. Last week, during protests sparked by the crash, riot police repeatedly clashed with demonstrators, including in Athens. The Ministry of Public Order has said talks have been held with protest organizers to avert new violence. The master, who admitted that he forgot to divert one of the trains, has been arrested and charged, but the government has been criticized for shifting the blame mainly onto him. Greece’s transport minister resigned on March 1 and Mitsotakis has apologized to the families of the victims. promised to investigate the cause of what happened and embarked on a flurry of public appearances in an apparent attempt to calm the anger. – ‘Late’ – The Prime Minister visited the crash site and gave a televised speech blaming “human error” for the accident while calling for a special committee of experts to investigate. But critics were merciless. Writing in the liberal daily Kathimerini, columnist Pantelis Boukalas called the prime minister’s apology “overdue” and said some may suspect it was “led by PR gurus”. The prime minister and other politicians suspended election campaigns in the wake of the tragedy. There is now speculation that the polls, expected in April, may be postponed until May. Mitsotakis has vowed to enlist the EU’s help to “finally” modernize the train network and called on the Supreme Court to investigate the tragedy as soon as possible. however, is little sign of public anger abating. Last weekend, football fans across the country insulted the Prime Minister during matches. Political life will resume on Thursday after a period of national mourning, but the prime minister seems in no hurry to face the issue of the approaching polls. Asked on Monday when Mitsotakis will go government spokesman Yiannis Economou replied: “At this stage, the prime minister is not adhering to this issue at all.” bur-sr/jph/jm

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