Tue, 16 Jul 2019

PRAGUE -- Hundreds of thousands of protesters have rallied in Prague demanding that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis resign.

Organizers said that about 250,000 people attended the June 23 rally at Letna Park -- a figure that would make it the largest protest since the fall of communism in 1989.

Demonstrators carried banners reading slogans such as 'Resign' and 'We won't give up democracy,' while others waved Czech and EU flags.

The rally was the culmination of a series of demonstrations in recent weeks against Babis, a 64-year-old billionaire who is facing accusations of fraud and conflicts of interests.

Babis was charged by Czech prosecutors in 2018 in connection with misusing some $2.24 million in European Union subsidies.

The case involves a farm that received EU subsidies after its ownership was transferred from the Babis-owned Agrofert conglomerate of some 250 companies to his family members.

The subsidies were meant for medium and small businesses and Agrofert would not have been eligible for them.

Babis, who is also the subject of an EU conflict-of-interest investigation, has denied any wrongdoing.

The previous major rally against the prime minister was held on June 4, when an estimated 120,000 people gathered in Prague's central Wenceslas Square

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and Current Time

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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