Government responds to criticism over revelations on Attica fires

Government responds to criticism over revelations on Attica fires

Opposition parties lashed out at the government on Friday over the handling of last summer’s catastrophic fires in eastern Attica, which killed 102 people, following the airing of a documentary on Skai exposing the negligence and shortcomings of the authorities in their response.

In a post on Facebook, conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis decried “the indifference for human life and cynicism” of authorities who postponed the announcement of the growing death toll. “A lot of work is in store for us if we are to put some order into a demolished state,” the ND leader added, referring to general elections later this year in which the conservatives are expected to prevail.

The centrist Movement for Change (KINAL) also commented on the documentary, noting that it proved that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his ministers had concealed the size of the death toll in their initial public speeches about the tragedy. “It was not just a show of cynicism and callousness but a conscious attempt to distract and trick citizens,” KINAL said.

The Greek Communist Party attributed “criminal responsibilities” to both the current and previous governments, while To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis said the documentary highlighted the incompetence of those in power and the scourge of state appointments without merit.

Responding later on Friday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos accused Mitsotakis of “digging up” a tragic story for political gain. “It is not to his credit and shows no respect for what happened that night,” Tzanakopoulos said. As for the lack of coordination between state agencies on the fatal night, he blamed it on previous governments, under which the public sector “crumbled.”

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