‘Million Moments’: Can Czech Protest Movement Regain Momentum?
But the organisers called a pause over the summer holidays and asked protesters to reconvene on November 16, the day before the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
Can the protest movement now regain momentum through a new wave of protests, and even if it does, will it ever have a decisive impact on Czech politics?
Million Moments was founded by Charles University theology students Mikulas Minar and Benjamin Roll in reaction to what they saw as Babis's betrayal of his election pledge to give people a voice against their corrupt elite.
Million Moments co-founder Benjamin Roll. Photo: Rob Anderson
After winning the October 2017 election, the tycoon — an alleged former communist secret police informer — had been allowed by President Milos Zeman to form a single party minority government with the backing of the hardline Communists and neo-fascist Freedom and Direct Democracy party.
It looked as if a cabal of former communists and current sympathisers of Russian President Vladimir Putin had seized control of the country.
On the 28th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the students used a website to call for Babis to prove that he would fulfil his promise to "support and develop democracy".
Then, when he ignored them, on 25 February 2018 — the 70th anniversary of the communist coup in Czechoslovakia — they started an online petition for his resignation, aiming for one million signatures (so far it has 432,000).
In an interview, Roll told Reporting Democracy that they were inspired by their protestant faith, the Czech tradition of student protest and the demonstrations in neighbouring countries, particularly Slovakia, where Prime Minister Robert Fico was eventually brought down in May 2018 in a scandal over...