Protests against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš taking place throughout the Czech Republic today

While the number of protesters cannot surpass 500, organizers believe the limitation breaches the law

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 09.06.2020 07:45 (updated on 09.06.2020)

Coming off the heels of another highly publicized protest — the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Prague this past Saturday — additional protests are due to take place in the Czech Republic Tuesday.

This time demonstrators in 145 locations across the country will take aim at Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), organizers Million Moments for Democracy (MCHD) NGO said in a press release on Monday. The group is currently drafting a legal complaint about the limitations on the number of participants.

In Prague, the limitation for public gatherings is 500 participants, restrictions which the MCHD argues breaches the law and constitution.

Due to the risk of novel coronavirus infection, mass gatherings for more than 500 persons are banned in the Czech Republic. The MCHD has canceled the planned march to the seat of the government in Prague due to the restrictions, but says participants who can’t march can dissent in other ways.

“The people who cannot go to the rally…will be able to express their views individually,” the MCHD said, calling on the protesters to observe the mandated two-meter distance and wearing of face masks. Disinfection will be available at the rally.

The limitation of the freedom of peaceful assembly by the Health Ministry’s extraordinary measure would be a disproportionate intervention in human rights, Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD), who heads the ministry, said following a government meeting Monday.

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Generally speaking, if there is no violence at a demonstration, the police will not intervene because more than 500 people gathered, he said.

Hamacek said he has discussed issue with Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) who holds a differing legal view. If there were more legal views, a court would probably be called upon to rule, he added.

Babis said he recommended that demonstrations should not be limit the number of protesters.

Rallies are scheduled to be held in Brno, Ceske Budejovice, Hradec Kralove, Jihlava, Karlovy Vary, Mlada Boleslav, Opava, Ostrava, Plzen, Zlin and in various parts of Prague on Tuesday.

The rallies aim to draw attention to the government’s insufficient financial support of the Czech economy, non-transparent tenders for healthcare aids, and contribution to businesses that would strip regional self-rule bodies of tax revenues, the organizers said.

The MCHD also criticized a bill that was passed last week with regards to the registration of real owners, saying that it will help Babis in his ongoing dispute over conflict of interest.

The protests are slated to take place on Tuesday at 6 pm in Prague’s Old Town Square.

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