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Czechs to hold nation-wide anti-government protests today

Prague, Czech Republic – Anti-government protests organized by the Million Moments for Democracy movement will be held today in 145 cities and towns across the Czech Republic.

On Tuesday, Czechs are expected to take to the streets – including in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Plzen, Ceske Budejovice, Hradec Kralove and Karlovy Vary, as well as smaller towns – to voice their discontent with how the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) handled the coronavirus epidemic.

Due to anti-coronavirus restrictions still in place, attendance will be limited to 500 people in the larger cities, and protesters are expected to wear face-masks and respect social distancing.

In Prague, the Million Moments for Democracy had to cancel a planned march to the seat of government, and will only meet in limited numbers on Old Town Square.

Last year, the movement had organized the largest demonstrations in the Czech Republic since the end of communism and the Velvet Revolution, drawing over 250,000 people calling for Prime Minister Babis to resign over suspicions of corruption, subsidy fraud and conflict of interest.

Ongoing protests had to be put on hold at the beginning of the year following the coronavirus outbreak.

This time, the nation-wide protests will more directly target the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Czech government, with activists citing inadequate or insufficient public support for businesses and entrepreneurs hit by the lockdown, as well as lack of transparency in the purchase of protective medical gear by the state.

Protesters have also cried foul regarding a new law passed by the government at the height of the epidemic, which critics say would enable the billionaire Prime Minister not to be recognized as the legal owner of Agrofert, the giant conglomerate he founded in the 1990s, and thus end the legal dispute over his alleged conflict of interest.

Main photo credit: Milion Chvilek pro Demokracii