Thousands Protest Against Prime Minister Babis

Thousands of Czechs were rallying in the streets of 20 major cities Monday calling on Prime Minister Andrej Babis to resign.

Thousands of protestors gathered on Prague’s Wenceslas Square as well as took over major streets in Brno and other eighteen cities across the country Monday afternoon. The people were taking part in a protest that takes aim at scandals surrounding the Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who battles allegations of subsidy fraud and has no parliamentary backing for his government.

As a part of the protest, attendees also signed a petition calling to instate “a decent prime minister and a decent government.” The petition which is part of “A million moments for democracy” initiative has already received 236 thousand signatures. And aims for almost 800 thousand more.

Protest organizers say someone facing criminal charges should not be in charge of the government. Some protestors also voiced their opposition to President Milos Zeman and Tomio Okamura of SPD party.

Andrej Babis’ political movement ANO won nearly 30 percent of the votes in a national election nearly 6 months ago. But his minority government lost a confidence vote in January 2018.

Slovak-born Babis had been previously formally charged with fraud in a case involving a 2 million euro EU subsidy for his eco-farm “Čapí Hnízdo” a decade ago. But in the comments to Czech media, he repeatedly denied any wrongdoing saying the farm was owned by his children and brother of his wife when the EU subsidy was granted. If Babis’ company had owned the farm directly, it would not have met requirements for the subsidy from EU funds.

Prime Minister Babis has also fought for his name to be cleared from files which claim he was cooperating with StB, the communist-era secret police dealing with activity that could possibly be considered anti-state or western influence in former Czechoslovakia. The demand was rejected by a court in Slovakia earlier this year.