More than two weeks after the train disaster that killed 57 people, the discontent has not stopped. More than 40,000 Greeks took to the streets again on Thursday to shout their anger as the country found itself largely paralyzed by a general strike. Violent clashes broke out. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and police responded with tear gas and stun grenades not far from Parliament in the center of the capital, according to AFP journalists.
After a large rally of 40,000 people in Athens on March 8, more than 25,000 people, according to the police, found themselves in several demonstrations in the center of the capital. In the middle of the day, demonstrators came to roar their anger in front of the headquarters of the Hellenic Train railway company, AFP noted, as they had already done three days after the collision between a passenger train connecting Athens to Thessaloniki and a convoy of goods on February 28.
“We will not stop being on the streets until those responsible for this tragedy are punished,” says Zoe Konstantinidou, a philosophy student who is demonstrating in Thessaloniki, a city from which many of the victims originated. “They don’t care about our lives,” she adds, while distrust of the Conservative government continues unabated.
“Things have to change”
The demonstrators answered the call of the trade unions of the public sector but also, for the first time, of the private sector with a risk of new violence, after clashes on March 8. “Things have to change in this country,” said Stravoula Ghatzieleftheriou, an employee in the private sector in Athens.
After several small demonstrations in the days following the train accident, some 65,000 people protested on March 8, with some calling on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign. Greece was also largely paralyzed on Thursday, especially with transport. All boats connecting the mainland to the islands remain docked for 24 hours and most planes on the tarmac.
Beyond the train disaster that shook the country, the Greeks are crying their fed up with the deterioration of public services in a country bled white by the years of crisis and the austerity plans imposed by its creditors .