Emotional moment Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe collapses when she reunites with her daughter


Clashes in Greece as thousands protest train tragedy

Greek police fired tear gas and protesters firebombed Thursday as more than 40,000 people took to the streets to bash the government and express their outrage at last month’s train disaster that killed 57 people. TV footage showed clashes erupting in Syntagma Square, near Parliament in central Athens. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades as protesters tried to surround them, and hurled firebombs and rocks. As protesters retreated, they smashed traffic lights and shop windows and set fire to rubbish bins, AFP reporters said. The February 28 tragedy exposed decades of safety deficiencies on Greek railways and has put the conservative government under severe pressure ahead of the national elections. According to police, 25,000 people protested in Athens on Thursday, as well as around 8,500 in each of the country’s next largest cities, Thessaloniki and Patras. There were also short clashes in Patras, the police said. Thursday’s protests were accompanied by a 24-hour strike – the largest since days after the disaster – this time called by Greece’s leading private and public unions. The strike paralyzed public services, flights and ferries. – “Things must change” – Many of the protesters called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government to resign over the country’s deadliest rail accident. “This crime will not be forgotten,” chanted protesters from the country’s communist trade union, PAME, as the Crowd marched towards Parliament in Athens. Students chanted “murderers” and protesters threw fliers with Mitsotakis wearing a stationmaster’s cap that read “Everyone’s to blame but me.” The rail disaster happened just before midnight when a passenger train crashed head-on into a freight train in central Greece after the two accidentally ran on the same track. Most of the passengers were stu Dellen returning from a bank holiday weekend. “Things have to change in this country, we just can’t mourn all these deaths,” said Athens protester Stavroula Hatzitheodorou, referring to the deadly forest fires that have ravaged Greece in recent years, as well as the train crash, “We hope that things will change in these elections,” Hatzitheodorou, who works in the private sector, told AFP the country has been rocked by a series of mass protests, some of them violent. – “Murderers” – Last week, about 65,000 people took part in demonstrations across the country, including around 40,000 in Athens. In addition to the 57 people killed, several victims remain hospitalized, including a passenger who is fighting for his life. Italian state-owned Hellenic Train, which operates rail services in Greece, said those injured in the accident and the families or dead would each have between 5,000 and 42,000 euros ($44,600) “to meet immediate needs.” “This is in no way an admission of guilt,” the company stressed late Wednesday. “Do not want their money…this was mass murder, I refuse to accept any apology from murderers,” Pavlos Aslanidis told Alpha TV on Thursday. “, he said. – Polls are slipping – Greece’s transport minister resigned after the accident and Mitsotakis has tried to appease public anger by repeatedly apologizing and promising a transparent investigation. Rail services ground to a halt across the country after the accident, despite being acting transport minister Georgios Gerapetritis said this week services would gradually resume from March 22. Gerapetritis said a report from experts investigating the tragedy would be presented in a month into possible mismanagement of railroad funds over the past 15 years. Gerapetritis and former transport ministers are due to appear before a parliamentary committee next Monday to answer lawmakers’ questions about the tragedy. Amid mounting public anger ahead of elections expected in May, Mitsotakis’ 7.5-point lead in the polls has fallen to just over three percent in recent polls. He has come under criticism for blaming “human error” for the accident and the stationmaster on duty at the time, who allegedly inadvertently routed the trains onto the same route. But rail workers’ unions had long warned of problems on the underfunded and understaffed train network .Mitsotakis had been expected to set an election date for April. Ballots are now expected in


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