250,000 Rally against Babiš in Czech Republic’s Largest Protest since Fall of Communism in 1989

250,000 Rally against Babiš in Czech Republic’s Largest Protest since Fall of Communism in 1989

Anti-government protests in Prague have grown since in April 2019 the Czech police said the Prime Minister should be indicted over EU funds fraud.

A huge protest rally with some 250,000 demonstrators demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, took place in Prague on Sunday, the largest protest in the country since the collapse of the communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia in the so called Velvet Revolution of 1989.

Protests against the Czech Republic’s billionaire Prime Minister Babiš began in late April, and have been growing, with Sunday’s rally on Prague’s Letná Park the largest so far, Radio Prague reported.

The protests have also targeted Babiš’s new Justice Minister Marie Benešová, who was appointed to the post a day after police recommended the Czech Prime Minister be indicted on criminal charges over the alleged abuse of EU funds.

The allegations that Babiš illegally obtained some EUR 2 million in EU subsidies resulted from an investigation of the EU anti-fraud office OLAF in 2017.

Andrej Babiš, the second richest person in the Czech Republic, with an estimated net worth of USD 4 billion, has been Prime Minister of the Central European country since December 2017, after he had been formally charged in the EU funds fraud case in October 2017.

He is presently heading his second Cabinet formed in July 2018, after losing a confidence vote in Parliament in January 2018.

Babiš, leader of his populist political party ANO 2011, denies all the accusations against him and ascribes them to a political attack.

In the biggest protest rally in Prague since the fall of communism 30 years ago, protestors carried Czech and European Union flags, with many also carrying banners with the names of cities and towns from all around the Czech Republic.

Based on its network usage analysis, Czech mobile phone operator T-Mobile estimated the number of participants in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Prague at over 258,000.

The series of anti-government protests in the Czech Republic has been organized by the civic group Million Moments for Democracy.

They have announced that their next major demonstration will take place on Letná Plain in November, the 30th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution.

“Our country has many problems and the government is not solving them. It is not solving them because the only worry of the prime minister is how to untangle himself from his personal problems,” said Mikulas Minar, a 26-year-old theology student who set up the Million Moments for Democracy.

“It is unacceptable for our prime minister to be a person under criminal investigation,” he told the crowd.

(Banner image: Vexillology on Twitter)

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