Thousands march to demand Czech prime minister’s resignation

U.S. & World

People hold placards calling for the resignation of Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis, as thousands of demonstrators gather to demand his resignation at the Wenceslas square in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. Babis faces legations that he has misused EU subsidies for a farm he transferred to his family members, though he denies wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Thousands of people marched through the Czech capital Tuesday to urge Prime Minister Andrej Babis to resign in a renewed wave of protests against the populist billionaire.

The march came a week after another protest rally in Prague and demonstrations in towns across the country on Monday.

Waving the Czech and European Union flags, the protesters chanted slogans “We’ve had enough,” or “Resign.”

The latest protests followed two huge rallies earlier this year when a quarter of a million people demanded that Babis step down in the biggest such demonstrations since the 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution.

They were fueled by the move of the country’s chief prosecutor who overturned earlier in December a previous decision to drop charges Babis was facing over alleged fraud involving European Union subsidies.

In a separate case, a leaked EU report concluded that Babis might have had a conflict of interest over EU subsidies involving his former business empire.

The protesters have given Babis a deadline of Dec. 31 to get rid of his business and media empire or resign.

Babis, a populist billionaire, denied wrongdoing and said there was no reason for him to step down.

Babis was required to transfer ownership of his businesses that includes a conglomerate of around 250 companies and two major newspapers to two trust funds in February 2017.

But his critics say he still maintains control and the leaked EU report concluded the same.

More protests are scheduled in major cities except Prague for Wednesday.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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