Demonstrations held in 11 cities over election of Communist MP Ondráček to chairman post

Demonstrations were held in 11 cities and towns in the Czech Republic on Monday against the election of Communist MP Zdeněk Ondráček as chairman of the lower house committee that oversees the General Inspectorate of the Security Services, which investigates police crimes. His election took place on Friday; 79 of a 155 MPs present voted in favour.

Mr Ondráček was a member of a riot police unit that beat protesters during Palach Week in January 1989, preceding the Velvet Revolution which brought down the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in November of that year. His election to the post not only caused a broad outcry but led the prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, to say he will push for his removal.

Demonstrations began at seven pm but petitions were available for signing two hours earlier. Sites posted photos of large crowds of demonstrators coming together on Wenceslas Square, some waving Czech flags and others carrying signs with slogans against the committee head and against the Communist Party. Some of the protesters also laid blame with the prime minister with signs saying he "had to go". Some unofficial estimates put the crowd size in Prague alone as at least ten thousand.

Protestors are meeting in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Liberec, České Budějovice, Písek, Jihlava, Olomouc, Plzeň, Hradec Králové, and Rožnov pod Radhoštem.