Greek strike over deadly train crash to halt transport


Flights to and from Greece will be grounded and ships will remain docked at ports on Thursday, as Greek workers walk off the job to protest over the country's deadliest train crash on record which killed 57 people on February 28.

The 24-hour strike called by Greece's largest private and public sector unions is also expected to shut public services and state schools and disrupt urban transport.

It is the latest in a series of protests since the head-on collision of a passenger train with more than 350 people on board, most of them university students, with a freight train in the central Greek region of Tempi. Rail workers have staged rolling strikes.

Protesters, accusing the conservative government and the country's political system of turning a blind eye to repeated calls by unions over deficient safety measures in the Greek railway, will start rallying outside parliament at 0900 GMT.

"We want to jointly express our disappointment for what has not happened over the years, but above all the anger for what happened in Tempi," private sector union GSEE said in a statement.

"We will not allow a lack of transparency, a cover-up, a renounce of responsibilities and any delays to lead to oblivion," it said, urging the government to take action and prevent another disaster and demanding a thorough probe into the causes of the crash.

A judicial probe into the accident has been launched.

All flights will be halted between 12:01 am and midnight local time (1001 GMT - 2200 GMT) on March 16 and only overflights, emergency and search-and-rescue flights will be allowed.

The crash has stirred public outrage. Last week, tens of thousands rallied in Athens and other cities across Greece in the largest street demonstrations the government has faced since being elected in 2019.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose term ends in July and is expected to call elections by May, has apologised over the crash and has promised to hire more staff and fix the ailing rail sector with support from the European Union. He has also called on protesters to not allow anger to split society.

"We must win this war," Mitsotakis said this week, adding that he was determined to eliminate the factors that led to the disaster.

More from International News