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On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people gathered and marched in the streets of Athens and surrounding cities while transportation workers went on strike in the largest demonstration of public outrage and fury surrounding Greece's deadliest train disaster that occurred last month when a freight train collided with a passenger train traveling in the opposite direction on the same track. The collision killed 56 people, many of whom were university students.
Athens came to a halt as more than 30,000 union members, and students poured into the streets to protest. Due to the striking transportation workers, ferry service to the island and public transportation in Athens came to a standstill.
Violent clashes with police and riots broke out in Athens and two other cities after the demonstration.
Protests weren't just limited to Athens, with 20,000 demonstrators attending a rally in Greecen's second-largest city of Thessaloniki. Greek citizens are furious with the government for the underinvestment and understaffing of Greece's archaic rail system - problems that likely largely contributed to the February 28 collision near Tempe in northern Greece.
The train protests were the largest demonstration in the country since 2019. It is estimated that more than 60,000 transportation workers, students, and teachers took to the streets in protest.
Brief skirmishes with riot police were reported when a group of protestors clashed with them until the police fired tear gas into the crowd. The violence continued with demonstrators throwing petrol bombs in front of parliament and setting a van and garbage bins on fire.
Students are fed up with Greece's chaotic public transportation system and the government's disregard for the problem which likely led to the February crash.
"You feel angry because the government did nothing for all of those kids. The public transport is a mess," said 19 year0old Nikomathi Vathi.
Another student added, "We're going to be here until things change."
Greece's Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Kostas Karamanlis, resigned less than 24 hours after the deadly collision saying in his resignation statement, "When something so tragic happens, it is not possible to continue as if it didn't happen."
The people of Greece seem to hold the same sentiment, refusing to let the government move forward without taking responsibility for its role in the fatal collision.
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