Thousands of Czechs demand justice minister’s resignation

Local News

Protesters gather at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, May 6, 2019. Thousands of Czechs rallied in Prague for the second time in a week to demand the resignation of the new justice minister. The protesters say the minister might compromise the legal system at a time when prosecutors have to decide whether to indict Prime Minister Andrej Babis over alleged fraud involving European Union funds. Babis denies wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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PRAGUE (AP) — Thousands of Czechs are rallying in Prague and elsewhere for the third straight Monday to demand the new justice minister’s resignation.

The protesters say the minister might compromise the legal system at a time when prosecutors have to decide whether to indict Prime Minister Andrej Babis over alleged fraud involving European Union funds.

Babis denies wrongdoing.

The justice minister has significant control over prosecutors. Marie Benesova was appointed in April. She’s a lawyer and adviser to President Milos Zeman, Babis’ close ally. Zeman has repeatedly criticized prosecutors.

As a lawmaker, Benesova voted against a police request to strip Babis of parliamentary immunity to face investigation. The protesters and the opposition say she might try to influence his case.

Benesova denies that.

The protests are set to continue.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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