Protesters Fill Prague Sq. Once more, in New Wrestle for Nation’s Soul


Mr. Babis has been dogged by accusations of corruption for years, however the current protests started in April, shortly after the police really useful that he face fraud prices in reference to a European Union subsidy to finance development of a resort close to Prague, referred to as the Stork’s Nest.

The following day, the justice minister, Jan Knezinek, resigned. He was changed by Marie Benesova, who’s near the nation’s president, Milos Zeman, an ally of Mr. Babis. The transfer set off quick outrage.

Below the Czech system, whereas the police can advocate an indictment, solely the state’s prosecutor, who’s appointed by the justice minister, can file prices.

For his half, Mr. Babis dismissed the police investigation as a politically orchestrated assault.

An audit by the European Fee made public final week has been more durable to disregard. It discovered that Mr. Babis’s firm, Agrofert, has benefited from European Union funds. Since he stands to realize from the success of his firm — despite the fact that he maintains he has divorced himself from its operation — the audit discovered that his impartiality was compromised, first when he served as finance minister and later when he grew to become prime minister.

“I strictly reject this opinion and I’ll struggle for it to be modified,” Mr. Babis stated. “The Czech Republic definitely received’t should return any subsidies. There’s no purpose for that, as a result of I’m not violating any Czech or European authorized norms.”

Talking in a session of Parliament on Tuesday, Mr. Babis stepped up his assaults on his opponents.

“I contemplate the audit an assault on the Czech Republic, an assault on the pursuits of the Czech Republic,” he thundered. “It’s a destabilization of the Czech Republic.”

Whereas the gang of protesters on Tuesday was giant, Mr. Babis’s Anos occasion nonetheless has a strong base of help. Within the current European Parliament election, affiliated candidates bought some 20 p.c of the vote, the very best of any occasion.

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