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‘Text Me When You Arrive’: Greek Students Protest Over Train Disaster

Greek students train disaster
“We will be the voice of the dead,” says the slogan on a white balloon held by a protestor in Athens. Credit: AMNA

Thousands of students protested on Friday throughout Greece demanding justice for the victims of the train disaster at Tempi.

“Text me when you arrive”, is one of the main slogans written on banners that can be seen in every part of the country – a reference to a text message found on one of the victims’ phones.

From Athens and Larissa to Volos and Patras, young people have taken to the streets offering their own unanswered “whys” for the tragedy.

A minute’s silence for the victims of Tempi’s accident was held outside the Parliament in Athens.

Students demanded officials take responsibility for the tragic event. “For the children in Tempi … for their families … and for us ..” went the call of the Athens Student Coordinating Committee.

“This crime will not be covered up. We will become the voice of all the dead,” the students shouted.

Later on, riot police and protesters clashed at Syntagma Square as a group of protesters broke out of the main rally and threw flares, stones and other objects at the police, who responded with teargas, according to the Hellenic Police.

A short while later at Monastiraki, unknown individuals set fire to a police vehicle, injuring two police officers who were transferred to hospital.

Students rally in other cities over train disaster

Not far from the hospital in Larissa, where the dead and injured from the accident were taken, several thousand schoolchildren gathered in protest in a central square, chanting “You never arrived, we will avenge you!”

A large rally took place in the city of Karditsa as hundreds of students gathered in the central square and then marched to the train station on Friday morning.

Anger is growing in Greece following the train disaster on Tuesday that caused the death of at least 57 people.

Many in Greece see the crash as an accident that had been waiting to happen, and the rail union blamed successive governments’ “disrespect” towards Greek railways for leading to this “tragic result”.

The Rector of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki announced that nine of his students were killed in the accident.

“The family of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki mourns. We mourn for the nine students lost in the tragic railway accident, so unjustly and suddenly. Life at the University ‘froze” in the minute of the fatal crash” rector Nikos Papaioannou said.

“As a father, but also as a Rector, I feel the need to share the painful feelings that overwhelm me, to call on all of us to be strong so that we can stand by the families of the students we lost,” he added.

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