intv amanpour Andrej Babis_00015524.jpg
intv amanpour Andrej Babis_00015524.jpg
Now playing
05:47
The tycoon who swept to victory in Czech Republic
Now playing
02:23
Tropical activity poses threat in Southern Hemisphere
PHOTO: Indonesia Search and Rescue Agency
Now playing
02:09
Woman who is trapped underneath earthquake's rubble captured on video
Barrie
Barrie's aunt speaks about how the police brought her the news about the death of her nephew Ibrahima.
PHOTO: VTM
Now playing
01:26
Aunt of Black man who died after arrest in Belgium: We want justice
screengrab US social media
screengrab US social media
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
04:35
Tech companies ban Trump, but not other problematic leaders
Now playing
01:23
Rejected Tintin cover breaks world record for comic book art
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13:  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over the vote to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for the second time in little over a year in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted to impeach Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection," 232-197 after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol where Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6. 10 Republicans voted to impeach. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presides over the vote to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump for the second time in little over a year in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted to impeach Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection," 232-197 after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol where Congress was working to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden on January 6. 10 Republicans voted to impeach. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Now playing
02:35
How the world is reacting to Trump's second impeachment
Indonesia sriwijay air crash search for victims wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00000920.png
Indonesia sriwijay air crash search for victims wang pkg intl hnk vpx_00000920.png
Now playing
02:21
Family members wait in anguish as search for crash victims continues
africa china coronavirus vaccine diplomacy lu stout pkg vpx _00025522.png
africa china coronavirus vaccine diplomacy lu stout pkg vpx _00025522.png
PHOTO: CCTV
Now playing
03:09
How China is hoping to use its vaccine as a diplomatic tool
PHOTO: CIRO FUSCO/AFP/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
00:38
Huge sinkhole appears in Italian hospital parking lot
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers carry recovered debris at the port in Jakarta on January 10, 2021, during the search operation for Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9. (Photo by Dany Krisnadhi / AFP) (Photo by DANY KRISNADHI/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers carry recovered debris at the port in Jakarta on January 10, 2021, during the search operation for Sriwijaya Air flight SJY182 which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9. (Photo by Dany Krisnadhi / AFP) (Photo by DANY KRISNADHI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Dany Krisnadhi/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:16
Indonesian jetliner crashes after taking off from Jakarta
 HONG KONG PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST VENTUS LAU BEING ESCORTED BY POLICE.
HONG KONG PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST VENTUS LAU BEING ESCORTED BY POLICE.
PHOTO: VENTUS LAU FACEBOOK PAGE/Reuters
Now playing
03:15
See Hong Kong police arrest former pro-democracy lawmakers
Tensions between the United States and Iran are likely to further escalate once again after Tehran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to semi-official Iranian news agencies, and announced it had resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, far beyond the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018. CNN
Tensions between the United States and Iran are likely to further escalate once again after Tehran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker in the Persian Gulf, according to semi-official Iranian news agencies, and announced it had resumed enriching uranium to 20% purity, far beyond the limits laid out in the 2015 nuclear deal. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
PHOTO: YJC
Now playing
02:37
Footage shows chemical tanker seized by Iranian forces
A European health worker prepares a shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
A European health worker prepares a shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
PHOTO: Reuters
Now playing
02:14
Frustration in Europe over pace of coronavirus vaccine rollout
Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attends the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system. Shanghai, China, 24 October 2020.

Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attended the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system.No Use China. No Use France.
Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attends the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system. Shanghai, China, 24 October 2020. Jack Ma, the co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, founder of Alibaba Group, attended the Bund Summit in Shanghai. He says that the essence of finance is credit management. We must change the pawnshop idea of Finance and rely on the credit system.No Use China. No Use France.
PHOTO: Zhao Yun/Oriental Image/Reuters
Now playing
03:05
Chinese tech tycoon has not been seen in months
(CNN) —  

For many Czechs, Sunday’s anniversary of the Velvet Revolution will be a bittersweet moment. Three decades after the collapse of the Communist regime, people will mark a dramatic moment in history amid allegations, confirmed by a court decision, that their prime minister collaborated with the StB, the Communist-era secret police.

Police said 250,000 attended anti-government demonstrations in Prague on Saturday, one day before the anniversary, when a non-violent demonstration led by students emboldened the nation to rise up against Communism.

They are demanding the resignation of PM Andrej Babis, a business tycoon who is listed as an StB agent in its official archives. Babis has consistently denied cooperating with the StB knowingly, saying he has been wrongly identified in the documents.

Pensioners Miloslava and Pavel Šimáček took part in the mass protests 30 years ago. They came back on Saturday because they were opposed to Babis being PM.

Carrying home-made banners, they paused to listen to the national anthem playing from the sound system.

“I’m very unhappy about the fact that the Prime Minister is a former StB agent and Communist. He has no self reflection whatsoever,” Pavel Šimáček said. His wife Miloslava added: “Back then, 30 years ago, if someone told me this would the case, I wouldn’t have believed it. We knew everything won’t be ideal, but this is unacceptable.”

Miloslava and Pavel Šimáček march in Prague on Saturday -- 30 years after they took part in the Velvet Revolution protests.
Miloslava and Pavel Šimáček march in Prague on Saturday -- 30 years after they took part in the Velvet Revolution protests.
PHOTO: Ivana Kottasova/CNN

The organizers of the protests, a group called “A Million Moments for Democracy” has coordinated some of the biggest demonstrations since 1989 in the past few months. More than 432,000 people have also signed its petition calling for Babis to resign.

“We consider it unacceptable … for an StB agent to be the Prime Minister,” the petition said. “We are not going to pretend that it’s normal. We want Andrej Babis to step down!”

Babis, a Slovak-born millionaire, has admitted to meeting with StB agents in the 1980s, when he was a member of the Communist Party working for a foreign trade company – a cushy job that allowed him to travel abroad, a perk that was unthinkable for most Czechoslovaks at that time.

However, he has denied cooperating with the StB knowingly.

According to official files held by the Slovak Nation’s Memory Institute, Babis agreed to become a collaborator during an hour-and-a-half long meeting with StB officials at a wine bar in Bratislava in November 1982.

The historical files describes him as being worried his coworkers would find out about his collaboration, something he thought could hurt his career. But, according to the records, he signed up anyway, adopting the code name “Bures.”

Babis has fought a bitter legal battle to have his name removed from the files, a bid that was finally rejected by the Slovak Constitutional Court last year. The institute presented 12 separate files signed by some 40 former StB officials as evidence against Babis.

Vote winner

While many in the Czech Republic disagree with Babis and want him gone, the PM has plenty of supporters too. His political party ANO won the European Parliament elections in May with 20% of the vote.

In the last parliamentary election in 2017, the group secured almost 30% of the vote, way more than the second-biggest party ODS which got just over 11%. His populist politics included a firm rejection of the EU’s proposal for a new immigration quota that would split refugees among the member states. He was among the four leaders who, in June, rejected Europe’s proposal to slash carbon emissions.

The protesters are now urging the fragmented opposition parties to come up with a plan to defeat Babis, and have pledged to keep protesting until their demands are met.

Their criticism goes way beyond Babis’ alleged past.

“The justice system and the public media are in danger, and the president, disregarding the constitution, is promising, if ever needed, a presidential pardon to the Prime Minister who has been in a huge conflict of interest,” they said in a statement on the website.

Babis has been accused of fraud related to EU subsidies received more than a decade ago by his former agricultural business empire Agrofert.

An investigation ended in the police proposing criminal charges against him. But this September, on the day of Babis’$2 65th birthday, prosecutors put the case on hold and later decided to drop it all together. Babis has denied the accusations.

ANO has not responded to a request for comment.

The European Union is also investigating Babis for a potential conflict of interest. Babis transferred the ownership of Agrofert into trust funds before taking the office and the EU is investigating whether he is still profiting from the business.

The vast empire includes a large number of food producers, meaning Czech supermarkets are full of products made by companies that trace their ownership to the PM.

App developer Vytrhlík was curious about the scale of Babis’ business empire and devised a smartphone app called “Bez Andreje,” Czech for “Without Andrej.”

It allows people to scan the barcode of any product to check whether it was made by one of the Agrofert companies. It has been downloaded more than 250,000 times, Vytrhlík said.

The organizers of Saturday’s protests were hoping for big crowds.

“We don’t have many reasons to be optimistic, 30 years after the Velvet Revolution,” the organizers, who are mostly students, said in a statement. “How else shall we celebrate the anniversary than by raising our voices in defense of democracy?”