Greek train disaster sparks nationwide protests
Tens of thousands marched in Athens and other cities across Greece yesterday to protest against the country’s deadliest train disaster as workers staged a nationwide, day-long walkout. Unions and student associations organised the protests, while strikes halted ferries, public transport, primary schools and public hospitals.
A crowd of more than 40,000 marched in central Athens chanting “Murderers!” and “We are all in the same carriage”. More than 20,000 joined rallies in Thessaloniki, where several
dozen youths challenged a police cordon. Twelve students from the city’s university were among the 57 killed on 28 February in the head-on crash between two trains.
A railway worker accused of contributing to the disaster by placing the trains on the same track has been charged with manslaughter and other offences, while the country’s transportation minister and senior railway officials resigned the day after the crash.
A political activist arrested in Thailand for selling satirical calendars featuring yellow ducks has been sentenced to two years in prison for insulting King Maha Vajiralongkorn, a legal assistance group said.
Thailand’s lese majeste laws are among the world’s strictest and carry penalties of up to 15 years in prison for each perceived royal insult. Hundreds of people have been arrested or jailed under the law, some for as long as 43 years. The yellow rubber duck is a symbol of an anti-government protest movement that in 2020 launched an unprecedented bid to try to reform the monarchy in Thailand, where the king is constitutionally “enthroned in a position of revered worship”.
The activist, whose lawyer requested he not be identified, was sentenced to three years in prison, which was reduced to two as his testimony was deemed useful, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, which has represented dozens of people charged with lese majeste in the past two years.
“He denies the charges because he did not produce the calendars and the contents of the calendar do not have
characteristics that would violate article 112,” the lawyer, Yaowalak Anuphan, told Reuters, adding his client was free on bail and plans to appeal.
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