Daily news summary


Estimated 120,000 people attend anti-Babiš protest in Prague

Another in a series of protests against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his appointment of Marie Benešová as justice minister took place in Prague on Tuesday evening. The organizer Million Moments for Democracy said around 120,000 people had taken part in the rally, making it the biggest public protest since the ani-communist demonstrations in 1989.

As well as demanding the removal of both Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Justice Minister Marie Benešová who was appointed just days after the police recommended that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stand trial in a fraud case, the protests’ organisers have called on Mr. Babiš to relinquish all his media assets so as not to continue to influence the free press.

Another demonstration is due to take place on 23 June on Prague’s Letná plain, the venue of the largest anti-regime demonstrations of November 1989.

Czech President summons Russian ambassador over Duma draft law misrepresenting 1968 invasion

President Miloš Zeman has asked the Russian ambassador to come to Prague Castle to explain draft legislation now in the Duma stating that Soviet troops took part in the 1968 of Czechoslovakia to suppress “an attempted coup”.

Earlier this week, the Czech Foreign Ministry also criticized the Russian legislation for misrepresenting the Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring reform movement.

A spokesman for President Zeman said on Twitter that the Czech head of state had invited Russian ambassador Alexandr Zmejevský to meet him on 13 June.

The Czech foreign ministry has said the draft Russian legislation "stands in stark contrast to international law” and a 1993 treaty between Prague and Moscow.

Czech foreign minister in France to discuss EU security, Mali mission, V4 presidency

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) is in Paris Wednesday for a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Amélie de Montchalin.

Their agenda includes issues of European diplomacy, security and also military operations in Mali involving soldiers from their respective countries.

Mr Petříček is also due to present the priorities of the one-year Czech presidency of the Visegrad Group, which begins in July.

Upon arriving in France this morning, he first went to lay a wreath at a monument to Czechoslovak legionnaires who died fighting with France in the world wars.

Czech circus family member, taxidermist, sentenced over illegal tiger trade

A Czech court has convicted three men, including a taxidermist and an animal parks owner, of killing critically endangered tigers and illegally trading in products made from their carcasses.

Prosecutors say the three men had arranged to have tigers killed and their parts processed for sale on the black market to Asian buyers.

The Česká Lípa county court sentenced taxidermist Miloš Hrozínek to three years in prison. Animal parks owner Ludvík Berousek, a member of a famous circus family, got a two-year suspended sentence and a fine. Vietnamese businessman Xuan Vu Le also got a two-year prison sentence.

They were arrested last year after police raids in Prague and elsewhere yielded the body of a recently killed tiger and pelts of other big cats, as well as the bodies of 20 other protected animals.

CRIF: Czech company bankruptcies reach 2.5-year high in May

This May some 88 companies went belly up, the highest number of bankruptcies in two and a half years, according to the Czech Credit Bureau (CRIF). The figure is up by 35 compared to April.

Last month 551 people in business for themselves also declared bankruptcy, the highest number since May 2018.

Despite the relatively high number of bankruptcies in May, their number continues to decline in the long term, CRIF analyst Věra Kameníčková said, commenting on the figures.

Prague Spring music festival wraps up with Toulouse orchestra

The 74th edition of the Prague Spring international music festival wrapped up on Tuesday evening with a performance by the Toulouse Capitol National Orchestra, under the baton of its chief conductor, Russian maestro Tugan Sochijew.

The Czech Republic’s largest classical music festival got underway on May 12, offering around fifty concerts.

The opening concert featured the traditional My Country by Bedřich Smetana, performed by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, founded by musicians expelled from Czechoslovakia after WWII who had previously been members of the German Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague.

Tomáš Dvořák to step down as Czech Athletics Federation head coach

Tomáš Dvořák, a former decathlon world champion and world record holder, has announced he will resign as head coach of the Czech Athletics Federation after this season.

Dvořák, now 47, took over the post in 2009. In a press release, he said he looked forward to less stress in his life, but could imagine staying on as a consultant to the new head coach.

Czech teen Vondroušová reaches French Open semifinal

Czech player Markéta Vondroušová advanced to her first career Grand Slam semifinal with a 7-6 7-5 victory over Croatia’s Petra Martic at the French Open on Tuesday. The 19-year-old Czech needed exactly two hours to book a spot in her first career major semifinal. Vondroušová will face Britain’s Johanna Konta for a place in the Roland Garros final.

15 injured in Prague-Holešovice apartment building fire

Some 15 people were injured Tuesday night after a fire broke out in an apartment building in the Prague district of Holešovice.

Among the injured were four children and three firefighters. Most suffered from minor burns or smoke inhalation. The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

About 45 people were in the building on U Smaltovny street when it was evacuated at about 7:30 p.m.

Weather outlook

Rain is in the forecast for Thursday throughout the country, with thunderstorms likely in the Vysočina region. Average daily highs should range between 25 to 28 degrees Celsius.