An enormous demonstration against the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš,
took place at Prague’s Letná Plain on Sunday late afternoon and evening.
Organisers said around a quarter of a million people were in attendance,
which would make it the biggest event of its kind in the city since the
fall of communism almost three decades ago.
Many protestors carried Czech and European Union flags along with signs, some of which bore the names of cities and towns around the Czech Republic.
Sunday’s protest was the latest in a series that began in late April calling on Mr. Babiš to stand down and for the removal of his appointment as justice minister, Marie Benešová. She got the job just one day after police recommended that Mr. Babiš face criminal charges over the alleged abuse of EU subsidies.
The series of protests has been organised by the civic group Million Moments for Democracy. They have announced that their next major demonstration will take place on Letná Plain in November, the 30th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution.
ANO leader Babiš denies all the accusations against him, which he says are part of a political campaign.
Former Czech prime minister and president Václav Klaus says protests
against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are being carried out by a handful of
people who are frustrated that they were on the losing side in elections.
Speaking on TV Prima on Sunday, Mr. Klaus said the demonstrations could
cause unrest in the Czech Republic.
The former leader said demonstrations were a phenomenon; however, demonstrations that are organised and manipulated and involve “paid people” transporting people from Moravia are another matter.
Mr. Klaus said frustration and a wish to be visible were also behind opposition parties’ tabling of a vote of no-confidence in the government, which is due to take place on Wednesday.
The 77th anniversary of the burning to the ground of the village of
Ležáky in East Bohemian and the murder of its population was remembered
on Sunday at the place where it once stood. Among the hundreds who attended
a service and wreath-laying ceremony at Ležáky was Prime Minister Andrej
The atrocity, which took place on 24 June 1942, came in retaliation for the killing of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich and followed the similar destruction of Lidice near Prague. When the Gestapo discovered that the parachutists sent to assassinate Heydrich kept a radio transmitter in Ležáky they murdered 51 of its residents.
Hana Moučková has been re-elected head of the Sokol gymnastics
organisation for the third time. Ms. Moučková, who has been the mayor of
the Czech Sokol Community since 2011, was the only candidate for the post.
Sokol’s first deputy mayor and deputy mayor were also re-elected, a
Sokol was founded in 1862 and was an important part of the Czech National Revival in the 19th century. It was repressed under communism but was revived after 1989.
President Miloš Zeman expressed support for Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
“in this complicated time” over a series of protests the latter has
faced recently, Mr. Babiš said after a meeting with the head of state on
Saturday night. The pair also discussed issues surrounding the European
Union and the Czech state budget.
While they had been expected to talk about the situation surround the arts minister’s post, Mr. Zeman had only said he would meet the Social Democrats’ choice for the job, Michal Šmarda, next week, the prime minister said.
Antonín Staněk of the Social Democrats said he would step down as culture minister by the end of May. However, Mr. Zeman refused to accept his resignation and the Social Democrats later called on ANO leader Babiš to dismiss him and resolve the situation by the end of this month.
The coming week will be very hot in the Czech Republic and above-average
temperatures for the time of year are also likely in the first three weeks
of July, according to a regular four-week outlook issued by the Czech
Forecasters say daytime highs in the next week will be markedly higher than the average for the last week of June, reaching well above 30 degrees Celsius several times. Precipitation should be around average for the time of year over the coming month.
The EPGC investment group owned by Czech Daniel Křetínský and Slovak
Patrik Tkáč, has submitted a public offer for the German business group
Metro. Reuters reported that EPGC had said in a press release that it was
offering amounts for shares that valued Metro at EUR 5.8 billion.
The bid is contingent on EPCG reaching sufficient shares to take control of Metro, a spokesperson for the former said.
Reuters said the investment was part of Mr. Křetínský’s strategy of diversifying his holding into the food and retail sectors. He already owns the tabloid Blesk and Sparta football club.
The former Czech football goalkeeper Petr Čech has been appointed
technical and performance adviser at English club Chelsea, where he enjoyed
the greatest successes of his playing career. Čech, who retired at the end
of last season, won 13 trophies with Chelsea, including the Champions
League and four Premier League titles.
The 37-year-old said he was very privileged to have the chance to rejoin the London club and help continue the success it has had in the last 15 years.
Saturday is the 30th anniversary of the publication of the dissident A Few
Sentences manifesto in the then illegal newspaper Lidové noviny, on June
22, 1989. The document demanded the end of criminalisation of
Czechoslovakia’s opposition, the release of political prisoners and the
lifting of a ban on public gatherings.
A Few Sentences is considered to have been officially declared on June 27, when its text was broadcast on Radio Free Europe. Over the coming months it was signed by around 40,000 people, making it the biggest action of its kind. Communism fell in Czechoslovakia five months later.