A rail network has chronic problems. Alexis Tsipras on Friday accused the conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “evading responsibility” and “concealing the truth” in the train accident that killed 57 people.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday promised “absolute transparency” in the investigation into this collision which occurred on February 28 in Tempé, about 350 km north of Athens.
“All to blame” for Mitsotakis
The head of government, faced with a wave of anger from the Greeks since this disaster, has assumed “responsibility” for this accident, the worst in the country. But he stressed that “all” were “to blame”, thus placing the blame on the various governments in recent years who have been slow to modernize railway safety systems.
“The national tragedy in Tempé (…) is not a question of controversy between the parties but a question of collective confrontation of society with those who try to hide the truth”, castigated Alexis Tsipras.
The accident was partly due to “human error”, as Kyriakos Mitsotakis repeated. The station manager of Larissa, a town close to the accident, was thus placed in pre-trial detention. Three other railway employees are also being prosecuted in this case.
“Society is in mourning but also angry”
But this accident, which affected mostly young people, sparked massive protests against the Conservative government as a general election looms before July.
A new demonstration by students of music schools took place on Friday in Syntagma Square below Parliament in central Athens in memory of the victims of the tragedy. On Sunday, the unions, especially communists, called for a new demonstration in Athens.
“Society is in mourning but also angry” and “losing its confidence in the institutions”, acknowledged the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, during a meeting with the Prime Minister.
A railway network with chronic problems
The government announced Friday evening financial aid to comfort the families of victims who will also benefit from the cancellation of their possible tax or bank debts, according to ministerial sources.
The accident brought to light the chronic problems of the Greek railways. Experts have criticized the split of the public train company (OSE) during the financial crisis of the last decade and the privatization of the transport sector, imposed then by Greece’s creditors (EU and IMF).