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Protests and celebrations mark anniversary of Velvet Revolution

More than 100,000 people are expected to gather in the Czech capital Prague on Saturday for a demonstration against Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Prague, 16 November 2019 (dpa/MIA) – More than 100,000 people are expected to gather in the Czech capital Prague on Saturday for a demonstration against Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

The protesters are demanding that Babis, the founder of the populist ANO party and one of the country’s richest people, step down. They believe he has conflicts of interest between his roles as a businessman and head of government.

He faces allegations that he illegitimately profited from EU funds in his business dealings.

The protest is timed to coincide with events marking 30 years since the so-called Velvet Revolution.

The crushing of mass student protests on 17 November 1989 in then Czechoslovakia provoked further uprisings against Communist rule and marked the start of the country’s shift towards democracy.

Official events are planned on Sunday, including a ceremony at Prague’s National Museum, also attended by German Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble. There will be a street festival on Sunday as well as theatre performances, dancing, debates, readings and concerts.

The Slovakian capital Bratislava is also set to mark the occasion with commemorations and demonstrations.

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