Tens of thousands of Czechs call on prime minister to resign

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Several thousands demonstrators gather to demand the resignation of Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis, at the Wenceslas square in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Babis faces legations that he has misused EU subsidies for a farm he transferred to his family members, though he denies wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Tens of thousands of Czechs returned to the streets of Prague on Tuesday to urge Prime Minister Andrej Babis to resign.

The protest at the central Wenceslas Square and a march followed two huge rallies earlier this year when a quarter of a million people demanded that Babis step down in the biggest such demonstrations since the 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution.

The latest protest was fueled by the move of the country’s chief prosecutor who overturned last week a previous decision to drop charges Babis was facing over alleged fraud involving European Union subsidies.

In a separate case, a leaked EU report in recent days concluded that Babis might have had a conflict of interest over EU subsidies involving his former business empire. The European Commission has not published the result of its audit because the procedure hasn’t been completed.

“Resign, resign,” the crowd chanted.

Babis, a populist billionaire, has denied wrongdoing and repeatedly said he wasn’t planning to leave office.

The protesters observed a minute of silence to honor the victims of a hospital shooting in eastern Czech Republic earlier on Tuesday. A 42-year-old suspect opened fire in a waiting room in the University hospital in the city of Ostrava, killing six and wounded three.

Another protest is scheduled in Prague for Dec. 17.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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