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Thousands demand resignation of Czech PM over fraud scandal

Photo: Cedric Farrugia

Tens of thousands marched to call for the Czech Republic’s billionaire prime minister Andrej Babiš to resign amid an EU funds scandal.

The protests against the Prime Minister occurred over three days last weekend, amid nationwide events to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in Czechoslovakia.

Babiš is denying accusations he hindered a fraud investigation and refuses to resign.

Babiš has been battling police charges he manipulated the ownership of one of his firms a decade ago to qualify for €2 million in EU development subsidies.

Earlier this year, thousands of citizens had already protested in 20 cities across the Czech Republic demanding his resignation.

Babiš was listed in documents in possession of the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN) of Slovakia as a collaborator of the Czechoslovakia communist-era secret police (ŠtB). He denied the allegations.

The organisers of the petition, Million Times for Democracy, had said it was unacceptable to have a Prime Minister who was on the payroll of the Communist State Security and who is being investigated for misappropriation of EU funds.

A vote of no confidence in Babiš ‘ Cabinet has been called by opposition parties. President Miloš Zeman said he would give Babiš another chance to form a cabinet if the vote forced him to resign.

Zeman was himself the target of protests earlier this year when he drew the public’s anger during his inaugural speech during which he attacked the media organisations that criticised his stand in relation to EU and migration.

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