Daily news summary
Reputed 250,000 attend Prague protest calling for resignation of PM Babiš
An enormous demonstration against the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, took place at Prague’s Letná Plain on Sunday late afternoon and evening. Organisers said around a quarter of a million people were in attendance, which would make it the biggest event of its kind in the city since the fall of communism almost three decades ago.
Many protestors carried Czech and European Union flags along with signs, some of which bore the names of cities and towns around the Czech Republic.
Sunday’s protest was the latest in a series that began in late April calling on Mr. Babiš to stand down and for the removal of his appointment as justice minister, Marie Benešová. She got the job just one day after police recommended that Mr. Babiš face criminal charges over the alleged abuse of EU subsidies.
The series of protests has been organised 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.
ANO leader Babiš denies all the accusations against him, which he says are part of a political campaign.
Zeman expresses support for Babiš over demonstrations
President Miloš Zeman expressed support for Prime Minister Andrej Babiš “in this complicated time” over a series of protests the latter has faced recently, Mr. Babiš said after a meeting with the head of state on Saturday night. The pair also discussed issues surrounding the European Union and the Czech state budget.
While they had been expected to talk about the situation surround the arts minister’s post, Mr. Zeman had only said he would meet the Social Democrats’ choice for the job, Michal Šmarda, next week, the prime minister said.
Antonín Staněk of the Social Democrats said he would step down as culture minister by the end of May. However, Mr. Zeman refused to accept his resignation and the Social Democrats later called on ANO leader Babiš to dismiss him and resolve the situation by the end of this month.
Klaus: Protesters frustrated at being on losing side in elections
Former Czech prime minister and president Václav Klaus says protests against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are being carried out by a handful of people who are frustrated that they were on the losing side in elections. Speaking on TV Prima on Sunday, Mr. Klaus said the demonstrations could cause unrest in the Czech Republic.
The former leader said demonstrations were a phenomenon; however, demonstrations that are organised and manipulated and involve “paid people” transporting people from Moravia are another matter.
Mr. Klaus said frustration and a wish to be visible were also behind opposition parties’ tabling of a vote of no-confidence in the government, which is due to take place on Wednesday.
Nazi atrocity at Ležáky remembered on 77th anniversary
The 77th anniversary of the burning to the ground of the village of Ležáky in East Bohemian and the murder of its population was remembered on Sunday at the place where it once stood. Among the hundreds who attended a service and wreath-laying ceremony at Ležáky was Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The atrocity, which took place on 24 June 1942, came in retaliation for the killing of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich and followed the similar destruction of Lidice near Prague. When the Gestapo discovered that the parachutists sent to assassinate Heydrich kept a radio transmitter in Ležáky they murdered 51 of its residents.
Hana Moučková re-elected head of Sokol
Hana Moučková has been re-elected head of the Sokol gymnastics organisation for the third time. Ms. Moučková, who has been the mayor of the Czech Sokol Community since 2011, was the only candidate for the post. Sokol’s first deputy mayor and deputy mayor were also re-elected, a spokesperson said.
Sokol was founded in 1862 and was an important part of the Czech National Revival in the 19th century. It was repressed under communism but was revived after 1989.
Above-average temperatures due in coming month
The coming week will be very hot in the Czech Republic and above-average temperatures for the time of year are also likely in the first three weeks of July, according to a regular four-week outlook issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute.
Forecasters say daytime highs in the next week will be markedly higher than the average for the last week of June, reaching well above 30 degrees Celsius several times. Precipitation should be around average for the time of year over the coming month.
It should be sunny in the Czech Republic on Monday, with temperatures reaching up to around 28 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are expected to climb to around 33 degrees Celsius by the middle of the week.