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Czechs Mark Revolution Anniversary With Calls For Premier To Resign

Protesters at the Prague rally against Prime Minister Andrei Babis.
Protesters at the Prague rally against Prime Minister Andrei Babis.

Thousands of Czechs took to the streets in Prague on November 17 calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

The protest came on the 29th anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that ended the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

There have been calls for Babis to resign since November 13 when media in the Czech Republic reported on an interview with his son, Andrej, in which he says he was forced to travel to the Russia-occupied Ukrainian region of Crimea in order to impede a criminal investigation into allegations that Babis and two of his children illegally took a 2 million euro ($2.27 million) EU subsidy a decade ago.

Babis, a billionaire businessman, has denied wrongdoing and said he would not resign. He has also said his son was mentally ill and that he left the country of his own volition.

Babis has also said Czech intelligence or a foreign intelligence service could be waging a "campaign" to topple him.

Jan Hamacek, leader of the Social Democratic (CSSD) party, which is the junior member of the coalition government with Babis's ANO party, said on November 16 that his party was still deciding whether it would back Babis in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. Such a vote could be held on November 23.

Czech President Milos Zeman, a Babis ally, has said he would ask Babis to form a new cabinet if a no-confidence motion passed parliament.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa

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