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Clashes Erupt at Rail Disaster Rally in Athens

Rail Disaster Rally
Demonstrators hold black balloons symbolizing the lives lost in the tragic train collision at Tempi. Credit: Video screenshot/Twitter/PAME

Police and demonstrators clashed in Athens on Sunday during a rally in Syntagma Square over the deadly rail disaster at Tempi last week that killed at least 57 people.

Some demonstrators set fire to rubbish bins and threw petrol bombs. Police responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades, clearing the Syntagma Square of the protesters within a few minutes.

The protesters also released hundreds of black balloons into the sky in memory of the dead, with some holding signs reading “Down with killer governments”.

Police estimated 12,000 people attended the protest.

According to the police, some 200 individuals located on Panepistimiou street, near the end of the march, attacked the police forces at the rally with stones, pieces of marble and petrol bombs and then proceeded to also cause damage to buildings and vehicles.

“The police forces, to fend off these attacks, made limited use of the necessary and indicated means, and proceeded to detain six persons, of whom five were arrested,” the police announcement said.

Seven police officers were injured in the above attacks and taken to the 401 General Military Hospital in Athens.

The police also clashed with members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) in Thessaloniki, after the latter hung a banner off the city landmark, the White Tower. The police used tear gas to push back the protestors.

The KKE released a statement condemning the police intervention, calling it an “unprovoked attack”.

Rail disaster rallies throughout Greece

Days of rallies have taken place across the country in light of Tuesday’s crash, due to a perceived lack of safety measures in the transport network.

On Friday thousands of students protested 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” about the tragedy.

Anger is growing in Greece following the train disaster on Tuesday which 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”.

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