Probe into trolley bus death deepens as victim’s funeral prompts protests

The family of a 19-year-old student who died on Tuesday night in a fall from a trolley bus after he was caught without a ticket on Friday appealed to witnesses to come forward as vehement protests accompanied the young man’s funeral.

Police staged a reconstruction of the accident in Peristeri, western Athens, examining the doors of the vehicle from which Thanassis Kanaoutis fell, while Transport Ministry sources said inspection methods and safety procedures would be reviewed. Meanwhile transport authorities launched an internal investigation to determine whether the driver of the No 12 trolley bus and the ticket inspector who allegedly argued with the 19-year-old prior to his fall should be held accountable.

A crowd of protesters gathered on Friday afternoon at the spot in Peristeri, western Athens, where Kanaoutis died and some set garbage dumpsters alight and threw stones at passing trolley buses but there were no injuries reported.

The results of a postmortem on Kanaoutis, who was buried on Friday, were expected to shed more light on the investigation.

The tragedy sparked a political row with main leftist opposition SYRIZA claiming that Kanaoutis’s death had highlighted the desperation into which the government’s ongoing austerity drive has plunged large sections of Greek society. Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou responded by accusing SYRIZA of “seeking to exploit a tragic occurence for political gain.”