(CNN) Fresh protests erupted in Greece on Sunday over the collision of two trains, despite the prime minister’s apology.
The Greek Prime Minister said in a statement Kyriakos Mitsotakis “We cannot and will not hide behind human error,” he said, in the aftermath of the accident that left 57 people dead.
A passenger train carrying more than 350 passengers Hit a freight train And Tuesday evening in Tempe, near the city of Larissa, the worst railway disaster in the country in years.
The collision sparked an outcry about safety standards on the Greek railway network. Sunday’s protests were only the latest, with police using tear gas against demonstrators who gathered outside parliament in Athens.
One of the slogans read, “This crime should not be covered up, we will be the voice of all the dead.”
In a statement released Sunday, Mitsotakis said it should not be possible for two trains traveling in opposite directions to “be on the same track and not be noticed.”
“As prime minister, I am indebted to everyone, but above all to the relatives of the victims, a huge apology. Personally and on behalf of everyone who has ruled the country for years,” Mitsotakis said.
The reference to human error indicates a change in the prime minister’s tone. In the aftermath of the collision he blamed “tragic human error”.
Although his latest statement indicated systemic problems in the Greek railway network, he promised announcements in the coming days in order to “immediately improve railway safety”.
On Thursday after the arrest of a train station manager in Larissa in connection with the incident, Greek authorities publicly released transmission recordings revealing that one of the train drivers involved had been instructed to ignore a red light.
Greece has a poor rail passenger safety record compared to other countries in Europe, having the highest rate of deaths on railways per million train kilometers from 2018 to 2020 out of 28 countries on the continent, according to a 2022 report by the European Union Rail Agency. .
The head-on collision sent downed vehicles and burning debris in its wake. Many of those on board were young men returning home from a weekend.
The country’s transport minister resigned in the wake of the tragedy and the railway workers’ union went on strike, accusing the government of neglecting the system.
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