Will Czech justice minister resign over protests?
Large protests have been staged for the third consecutive week in Czech Republic against country's newly appointed justice minister Marie Benesova, after her supportive comments of billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
The latter has been charged with illegally tapping 2 million euros in European Union funds a decade ago when he was in business. Babis has called the case a political ploy and said the demonstrations amounted to theatre before European Parliament elections this month.
Benesova has denied planning to push for personnel changes, such as that of the chief prosecutor, to alter the course of the investigation, which has worried protesters.
"We are demonstrating against (the fact) that a woman with such a history as her own becomes justice minister a day after the police proposed the prime minister be indicted," a protest organiser, Mikulas Minar, said on Monday on a Czech Radio debate show. "That is an unacceptable coincidence for us."
Benesova was part of a caretaker government in 2013, appointed by President Milos Zeman, a Babis ally. As a member of parliament in 2017, she was among a small minority who did not back lifting Babis's parliamentary immunity in the subsidy case.