Greece said Saturday it had sacked its national police chief, days after clashes between security forces and demonstrators broke out in the wake of the country’s deadliest train tragedy.
The Prime Minister’s office said police chief Constantinos Skoumas had been discharged less than two months after being confirmed at the post.
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No specific cause was given for prompting the change, which comes as police face widespread public criticism for their handling of demonstrations over the February 28 tragedy in which 57 people were killed when two trains collided.
“The appointment of a new police chief aims (to introduce) a more positive and efficient implementation of modern police operational plans on citizen safety,” the PM’s office said.
In the latest protest on Thursday, a riot police squad was filmed charging and striking peaceful demonstrators at the central Syntagma Square in Athens.
A police tow truck was also filmed ramming a group of demonstrators trying to block an Athens street with garbage bins, sending one demonstrator flying to the ground.
The train disaster has sparked weeks of angry and occasionally violent protests, and has piled major pressure on the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ahead of elections expected in May.
The stationmaster on duty during the accident and three other railway officials have been charged and face a possible life sentence.
But railway unions had long been warning about problems, claiming the network was underfunded, understaffed and accident-prone after a decade of spending cuts.
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