- Title: Czechs call for billionaire prime minister to resign
- Date: 17th December 2019
- Summary: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) PROTESTERS GATHERED AT VENCESLAS SQUARE PROTESTERS WHISTLING, HOLDING PLACARDS PLACARD READING (Czech): ''BABIS IS A LIAR'' (AUDIO OF PROTESTERS CHANTING (Czech) ''RESIGNATION'') PROTESTERS GATHERED, HOLDING PLACARDS AND WAVING CZECH FLAGS PROTEST ORGANISER, MILLION MOMENTS LEADER MIKULAS MINAR ADDRESSING CROWD PROTESTERS CHANTING (Czech): ''SHAME'' MILLION MOMENTS LEADER MIKULAS MINAR SAYING (Czech): ''Now we are witnessing how one oligarch makes from our country his own firm and we do mind." PROTESTERS CHANTING (Czech): ''WE DO MIND'', HOLDING PLACARDS, FLAGS PLACARD READING (Czech): ''BABIS, RETURN THE DONATION AND THE STATE TO THE PEOPLE, BABIS IS A SWINE'' PROTESTERS CHANTING AND WHISTLING PROTESTERS MARCHING PLACARD READING (Czech): ''BABIS GO TO HELL!'' PROTESTERS MARCHING PROTESTERS MARCHING BLOWING TRUMPETS AND CARRYING FLAGS VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS PLAYING DRUMS, CHANTING (Czech): ''SHAME!'' '' RESIGNATION!'' PLACARD READING (Czech): ''BABIS RESIGN!'' PLACARD FLIPS TO READ ''NO BABIS!'' EU FLAG, PROTESTERS MARCHING PLACARD READING (Czech): ''JUSTICE, WE ARE NOT BLIND, WE WANT RESIGNATION!'' (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) UNNAMED PROTESTER, SAYING: ''When he doesn't resign by himself, then I hope the opposition parties will be able to unite and beat him in the elections. This is the only hope because I am afraid he will not resign by himself.'' PLACARD READING (Czech): ''VOTERS, ANO (POLITICAL PARTY) AND BABIS IS STEALING FROM YOU'' VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING
- Embargoed: 31st December 2019 19:07
- Keywords: Babis Czech Republic EU Prague corruption
- Location: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- City: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- Country: Czech Republic
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAD75FD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Thousands of Czechs protested against Prime Minister Andrej Babis for a second week in a row on Tuesday (December 17) after prosecutors reopened a case into alleged subsidy fraud and Brussels declared a conflict of interest between his businesses and political role.
The civic group Million Moments for Democracy has sought to put pressure on the billionaire premier Babis with a series of demonstrations this year, although Babis's political party ANO maintains a solid lead in polls.
The group has demanded his former business empire Agrofert be cut off from European Union subsidies and public contracts and have called on him to resign.
The hour-long march on Tuesday from Prague's central Wenceslas Square to the government office drew fewer people than a protest last week that numbered several tens of thousands. Police estimated 7,000 started the march on Tuesday.
Protests were called after the country's top prosecutor reopened this month a case against Babis, suspecting that he hid ownership of one of his firms a decade ago so it would qualify for a 2-million-euro subsidy.
Separately, an audit by the European Commission, the European Union's executive, leaked to Czech media this month.
The report showed the Commission saw Babis in a conflict of interest because he still had control over Agrofert, a conglomerate he had built over the past two decades and put into trust funds in 2017 before he became prime minister.
Babis has denied wrongdoing and has said he met legal requirements on conflict of interest with the funds.
(Production: Jiri Skacel, Aiden Nulty)
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