Czech anti-government protesters mark anniversary of revolution


Photo by Petr Bonek/

Thousands of demonstrators on Letna plain in Prague on November 16, protesting against the Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his government. The area was also the scene of key protests at the start of the Velvet Revolution 30 years ago. Photo by Petr Bonek/

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in the Czech capital Prague on Saturday as part of major anti-government protests. Sunday saw the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Velvet Revolution, a series of non-violent mass protests which led to the overthrow of communism in what was then Czechoslovakia.

The bloodless revolution was the basis for the founding of the Czech Republic as a democratic state. Police estimated that 200,000 people were on the streets, while organizers put the number at up to 300,000. Saturday’s protest was organized by activist group Million Moments for Democracy.

It set out new demands on the Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, while also calling on opposition parties to find a way to work together, numerous outlets reported, including Czech Radio, BBC and Deutche Welle.

Million Moments for Democracy vowed to organize more demonstrations if the prime minister interferes in the country’s justice system and media, if he receives a pardon from the president, or if his alleged conflict of interests results in a withdrawal of EU subsidies.

Babiš, a billionaire businessman and the founder of a business called Agrofert,a Czech conglomerate holding company. As the leader of the center-right populist ANO party, has been accused of intimidating his rivals and of corruption.

Protestors suspect Babiš has been seeking to influence a criminal investigation into suspicions he committed EU subsidy fraud. The PM denies this and earlier this year criminal proceedings against him regarding an alleged case of subsidy fraud were halted by the state attorney investigating the case. 


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