November 16 rally against Andrej Babiš at Letná. via Raymond Johnston

15,000 demonstrate against Czech PM Andrej Babiš on Prague’s Wenceslas Square

Several thousand people gathered at another rally demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš

Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – Several thousand people gathered at another rally demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) in the center of Prague last night.

Mikulas Minar, from the organising Million Moments for Democracy NGO, said the decay of political culture must not be tolerated as Babis is turning the Czech Republic into his own firm.

After Minar’s opening speech, the protesters set out on a march from the Wenceslas Square to the Government Office.

The police said about 15,000 people attended the demonstration.

“We are here because we do not want to tolerate the continuing decay of political culture in our country,” Minar said.

“We do not want to tolerate the situation in which circumventing the law, being in a conflict of interest and telling lies become routine,” Minar said.

In addition, the government instals persons whose main task is to serve Babis’s interests in public posts, he added.

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He protested against President Milos Zeman’s proposal to appoint deputy Helena Valkova (ANO) as ombudsman as she was only an advocate of Babis’s interests.

Minar said it was not enough just to criticise and the demonstrators also wanted to hear a positive alternative.

“Without politicians, politics cannot be changed. This is why they will be provided space to disclose their visions,” he added.

At the beginning of his speech, Minar called on Communist (KSCM) leader Vojtech Filip to apologise publicly for his having suggested that the Million Moments for Democracy may have been responsible for a recent cyber attack on the hospital in Benesov, Central Bohemia.

“You, a deputy of the parliament of the Czech Republic, should not tell lies in the StB manner, scaring the public of terrorism or a coup d’etat,” Minar said, hinting at Filip having been listed as a collaborator of the Communist secret service StB.

“I call on you to apologise for your lie, or else we will have to consider taking legal steps in our defence,” Minar said.

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His words were welcomed by the protesters who chanted “Sue Him.” The march is being watched by tens of police.

Some voters for ANO are frustrated by the existing state of politics and they want a strong leader who is to resolve all problems, Tomas Czernin, a deputy chairman of the opposition TOP 09, told the rally.

Vit Rakusan, the leader of the opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN) said ANO had to be convinced that they might be better off also without Babiš.

However, the followers of the opposition must seek this with they own conduct, he added.

Rakusan said Babis was able to address many people disappointed by the political developments.

Politicians must not disregard ANO voters as they have to try and understand their problems and help with their solution.

Czernin spoke about a number of problems the Czech Republic was facing and the government has failed to resolve.

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He mentioned the impacts of climate change, the lacking pension reform and the problems in education in which the Czech Republic was lagging behind Europe.

“One has to start here immediately, supporting science and education. This is vital because educated people do not allow themselves to be misled,” he added.

Miroslava Nemcova (ODS), a deputy the Chamber of Deputies, said the protests had to continue because the problems in the Czech Republic continued.

She said rallies across Slovakia originally seemed not to produce any results, but they eventually brought about the fall of Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Pirates leader Ivan Bartos said Babiš was squandering state money, plundering national reserves and buying the elderly by gifts.

By means of marketing campaigns and public opinion polls, Babiš and President Milos Zeman divide people in the Czech Republic, Bartos said.

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