Hundreds of thousands of people, 250,000 according to the organizers, took to the streets on Sunday 23 June to demand the resignation of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, accused of fraud, and in favor of the independence of justice. The demonstrators marched with the flags of the European Union and the Czech Republic and with banners against Babis and against President Milos Zeman.
"We have come to defend democracy, to express our disagreement with the establishment and all our concern for the future. We are not making the revolution, but we want to get back to the message and the values of 1989, "said Benjamin Roll, one of the organizers of the protests.
The last straw was the recent replacement of the Minister of Justice with a politician close to President Zeman the day after the police asked for the indictment of Babis and others for an alleged fraud on European funds. Babis is accused of conflict of interest and is also targeted for his past as a communist police officer.
Prime Minister Babis called the accusations made against him by the massive demonstration "incredible" and denied any interference on his part in justice.
At the same time, he stressed the fact that 30 years after the velvet revolution that brought down communism in 1989, people can express and freely express their opinions. "Today there was a multi-colored stream of people talking about the independence of justice and sending me to prison and our president (Milos Zeman) in the grave. Unbelievable. But even these are the opinions that can be heard in democracy, even if a normal person can think about what he wants, "Babis wrote on Twitter.
According to estimates, against Babis and against the new Justice Minister Marie Benesova, suspected of wanting to intervene in the ongoing criminal proceedings against the prime minister, they demonstrated in Prague between 250 and 300 thousand people, arriving from all over the Czech Republic. It was one of the biggest events since 1989.
The association that organized the protests denounces, among other things, the conflict of interests of Babis and his past as a communist police officer and warns against an alleged involution of democracy in the oligarchic sense. The next demonstration is scheduled for November 16, the month in which the Czech Republic will remember 30 years after the fall of communism.