Clashes break out in Greece as thousands protest against train tragedy

Clashes break out in Greece as thousands protest against train tragedy

Greek police fired tear gas and protesters hurled firebombs on Thursday as more than 40,000 people took to the streets to slam the government and voice outrage at last month's train disaster that killed 57 people.

The protests were accompanied by a 24-hour strike -- the biggest yet since the disaster -- this time called by Greece's leading private as well as public sector unions.

Clashes erupted at Syntagma Square near parliament in Athens, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades at demonstrators hurling firebombs and rocks.

As protesters retreated, they smashed traffic lights and shop windows and set rubbish bins on fire, AFP reporters said.

A plainclothes police driver for a leftist MP was lightly hurt a demonstrator smashed his car window, said state television ERT.

Ten people were detained for questioning, police added.

The February 28 train crash exposed decades of safety failings in Greek railways and has put major pressure on the conservative government ahead of national elections.

Police said 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, where brief clashes also broke out, police said.

Thursday's industrial walkout shut down the civil service, flights and ferries.

'Things have to change'

Many protesters urged the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign over what is the country's deadliest rail accident.

Most of the passengers were students returning from a holiday weekend.

The father of one passenger who died rejected the offer.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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