(CNN) Fresh protests erupted over a deadly train crash in Greece on Sunday, despite an apology from the prime minister.
In a statement, the Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis “We cannot and cannot hide behind human error,” he said following the crash that killed 57 people.
A passenger train carrying more than 350 passengers Collided with a freight train The country’s worst railway disaster in years in Tembi, near Larissa, on Tuesday evening.
The collision has sparked anger over safety standards on the Greek rail network. Sunday’s protests were just the latest, with police firing tear gas at demonstrators gathered outside parliament in Athens.
“Let’s not cover up this crime, let’s be the voice of all the dead,” read a slogan.
In a statement released on Sunday, Mitsotakis said the two trains moving in opposite directions “could be on the same track and not be noticed”.
“As prime minister, I owe everyone, but most of all to the relatives of the victims, a great regret. Personally and in the name of all those who have ruled the country for so many years,” Mitsotakis said.
The reference to human error marks a change in the Prime Minister’s tone. He blamed “tragic human error” after the collision.
His latest report, while suggesting systemic problems with the Greek railway network, promises announcements to “immediately improve the safety of the railways” in the coming days.
On Thursday, after the arrest of a train station manager in Larissa in connection with the collision, Greek authorities made public recordings revealing that one of the train drivers involved had received instructions to ignore a red light.
Compared to other countries in Europe, Greece has the worst record on rail passenger safety, recording the highest railway fatality rate per million train kilometers from 2018 to 2020 among 28 countries on the continent, according to a 2022 report by the European Union Agency for Railways.
The head-on collision overturned the carts and burned debris in its wake. Many of those on board were young men returning home for the holiday weekend.
The country’s transport minister resigned in the wake of the tragedy, and the railway workers’ union went on strike, accusing the government of ignoring the system.