Protesters Rally in Prague Against Babis

Prague, (CTK) – More than 200 people gathered to protest against Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and the nomination of Communist (KSCM) MP Zdenek Ondracek to the post of a parliamentary body supervising police inspectors near the parliament building in the city’s historical centre today.


The organisers originally planned only a protest against Ondracek who had been a member of the communist riot police unit that had taken part in a crackdown on a peaceful demonstration against the regime in 1989.


Before Christmas, Ondracek was elected chair of a lower house commission supervising the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIBS) but the secret vote has been cancelled over doubts about how many MPs took part in it. A new vote on Ondracek is to be taken this month.


As the lower house of parliament took a confidence vote in Babis’s minority government today, the protest was aimed also against Babis who wants to be prime minister, although he has been accused of an EU subsidy fraud and the lower house is to take a vote on his release for prosecution in the next days.


As no other party in parliament supported it, Babis’s government clearly lost the confidence vote.


The protesters carried Czech and EU flags and banners denouncing Babis.


Some of the slogans referred of late student Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in Prague’s centre 49 years ago in protest against the development in the country following its occupation by the Soviet army in 1968.


The speakers at the protest included unsuccessful presidential candidate Michal Horacek, who had launched the protest wave against Ondracek, and Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) politician Hayato Okamura, brother of right-wing populist leader Tomio Okamura (Freedom and Direct Democracy, SPD). A moment of silence was observed for Palach.