Anti-Babis Protests Continue As Voters Cast Their BallotsPetr Dubinsky
As Czech’s cast their ballots for European Parliament, the most massive protests in the nation since 1989 continue, with 50,000 people taking to Wenceslas Square to demand the dismissal of Justice Minister Marie Benešová. The crowd of protestors waved Czech and European Union flags and signs that read: “You can’t break justice” and”I am ashamed of my prime minister.”
Mrs. Benešová has been appointed to lead the ministry after the resignation of her predecessor Jan Kněžínek and will now have significant control over prosecutions, together with protesters fearful she will try to protect Babiš, who potentially faces a trial for EU subsidy fraud.
Babiš is accused of subsidy fraud and conflict of interest. Authorities last month called on prosecutors to indict him. If guilty, Babis faces up to 10 years behind bars. Mrs. Benešová was among those men and women who didn’t support lifting Babiš’ parliamentary immunity. Furthermore, she has served as justice minister in a caretaker government made by Czech president Miloš Zeman, an ally of Babiš.
The prime minister has rejected the fraud instance as a plot made by his competitors to destroy his political career and said that the demonstrations were part of a political smear campaign by rivals before the European parliamentary elections.