Athens: The Greece government on Wednesday announced a set of measures aimed to improve the safety of the railway system, in the wake of the train collision last week in central Greece that left 57 dead. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced an increase in the state budget to address understaffing and shortage of railway equipment.
He said the government would step up procedures to fill in the gaps in the signalling network and upgrade the safety system, Xinhua news agency reported.
Also on Wednesday, thousands of protesters hit the streets of Athens and other cities across the country as labour unions called a 24-hour nationwide strike over the tragedy. “Suffering must be followed by catharsis,” Giorgos Gerapetritis, state minister responsible for infrastructure and transport, told a press briefing.
He also apologised for the worst railway tragedy in Greece, pledging swift steps to complete all necessary works to upgrade the system and prevent such accidents in the future.
According to police estimates, approximately 30,000 people took to the streets in central Athens, calling for “justice” and “modern and safe public transport”. Similar protests were held in several other cities, including Thessaloniki in northern Greece.
The protests were organised by the umbrella union of civil servants, ADEDY, labour unions of mass transportation, and students’ and teachers’ associations, among others. Many of the crash victims were university students returning to class after short holidays.