PM Mitsotakis requests forgiveness from victim's families for Greek train crash

The Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has requested the families of the 57 victims of this week's train crash for forgiveness. Mr. Mitsotakis stated in a message that "in the Greece of 2023, two trains traveling in opposite directions cannot run on the same track without anyone noticing." 

Protests have persisted for several days. As thousands joined a demonstration in the capital city of Athens on Sunday, clashes with police were reported. The police estimated that 12,000 people attended the demonstration.

According to sources, seven police officers were injured and five were arrested. Some demonstrators set garbage cans on fire and threw gasoline bombs. Using tear gas and stun grenades, the police cleared the central Syntagma Square of protesters in a matter of minutes.

According to sources, the protesters also released hundreds of black balloons into the sky in memory of the deceased, with some carrying signs that read "Down with killer governments." On the evening of February 28th, a passenger train and a freight train traveling in opposite directions collide and ended up on the same track. 

The first four passenger train cars derailed, with the first two catching fire and being almost completely destroyed. On Sunday, a 59-year-old Larissa station master who was charged with manslaughter by negligence appeared in court and was taken into custody.

His attorney, Stefanos Pantzartzidis, stated that the station master admitted to having contributed to the accident. If convicted, he will face anywhere between 10 years and life in prison. However, many Greeks view the accident as a foregone conclusion, and the railway workers' union blames successive governments' "lack of respect" for Greek railways for this "tragic outcome."

A government minister mentioned to the sources that it was the lack of funding that was a direct result of the stringent conditions that were imposed on international bailouts following the 2010 debt crisis.

Residents of Athens and Thessaloniki joined union members in taking to the streets in the past week in response to the magnitude of the disaster. Several of the passengers on one of the trains heading back to Thessaloniki after they celebrated Greek Orthodox Lent over the long weekend were students. A medical student from Cyprus, Niko Savva, mentioned to the sources that the network appeared problematic with worn-out and poorly compensated staff.

Train operators in Greece have reported persistent issues with the electronic systems that are intended to warn them of impending danger.

Kostas Karamanlis, the minister of transportation, resigned out of "respect" for the deceased. Mr. Karamanlis stated that he was accepting responsibility for the government's failure to modernize the nation's railways during its three-and-a-half years in power. The Greek government declared three days of national mourning immediately after the accident. they also said that cost of the victims funerals would be covered by the government

According to sources, the crash appears to be becoming a defining political issue for Greece as it prepares for spring elections. As of now reports have suggested the 9th of April as a possible date for the elections. However, analysts believe this date may now be delayed.