Thousands call for prime minister’s resignation
People in close to two dozen Czech towns and cities took to the streets on Monday to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The organizers of the protest say that while they respect the outcome of October’s general elections, they are not ready to accept a prime minister who faces criminal charges and is listed as a former agent of the communist-era secret police.
“The aim of this protest is to let Andrej Babiš know that a prime minister who faces charges of EU subsidy fraud and who is listed as an agent of the former communist secret police is unacceptable for a vast number of Czechs.”
Protesters signed a petition calling for a respectable prime minister, which they want to hand over to the lower house and the leadership of Andrej Babiš’ ANO party which won the last general elections by a broad margin. Mikuláš Minář says that by clinging to power Andrej Babiš is stalling the government talks and dragging out the period of political uncertainty.
Protesters held up slogans saying “We are not your firm” and “A doughnut in exchange for Democracy? Never!” in reference to Babiš’ election campaign during which he handed out thousands of doughnuts to voters and his present promises of higher wages, pensions and benefits for various groups of the population. One of the protesters told Czech Radio why she was there.
“I don’t like the fact that we are being fed lies. We are being bribed by various perks, but the important issues are not addressed.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who is to meet with President Zeman on Tuesday evening to discuss the latest set-back in coalition talks, dismissed the protests against his person as insignificant, saying that the demonstrators were fully entitled to voice their opinion and he had nothing against them doing so.