Czechs demand PM's resignation in biggest protest since communism
Story Code : 801182
The 64-year-old billionaire was charged last year in connection with a two million euro ($2.25 million) EU subsidy scam, while an audit by the European Commission ruled that he has a conflict of interest as a politician and entrepreneur.
The Czech government said earlier this month there were "errors" in the audit from Brussels and Babis has refused to budge.
"Judging from the aerial photos, it looks like we're about 250,000. We'll see how many more people will still arrive," said Mikulas Minar, head of Million Moments for Democracy, the NGO organizing the protest, as it got underway.
Police estimates of the size of the crowd were not immediately available. "We're fed up with what Babis is doing, how he manages the country," Mila Stiburkova, a 39-year-old sales manager from the central Czech town of Sazava, told AFP.
"We don't like him pocketing money and fooling people who trust him," added Stiburkova, who like many protesters, traveled to Prague for the event.
Despite the allegations, which Babis fervently denies, ANO -- described as a one-man party by critics -- enjoys a steady 30-percent voter support in opinion polls.
Sunday's rally is the latest in a series of protests against Babis and new Justice Minister Marie Benesova, which started as Benesova was appointed in April.
The organizers, who fear Benesova was appointed to clear Babis of his charges, brought about 100,000 protesters to Prague's central Wenceslas Square in early June as the protests gradually increased.
On its Facebook page, the Million Moments for Democracy group said Babis's "multiple conflicts of interest" were unacceptable.
Besides the resignation of Babis and Benesova, the group also wants Agrofert to return all EU subsidies it received while Babis was involved in the alleged conflict of interest.