Chaos on the streets of Prague: Thousands protest Czech PM in Communist row

Photos show thousands of people waving Czech and EU flags and anti-Communist banners in Prague and other cities in the country this evening.

The Czech Republic’s lower house of parliament today narrowly backed Zdenek Ondracek to head its police oversight committee – the first time a Communist lawmaker has held such a post since the fall of communism nearly three decades ago.

Mr Ondracek was supported by Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his ANO party, who are already facing police charges of illegally obtaining European Union funds a decade ago.

Protestors have flooded the streets of Prague chanting “we’ve had enough”, with citizens blaming both Mr Ondracek and Mr Babis for the civil unrest.

One protestor said: “I am here because of Ondracek, who was a member of a police force that beat demonstrators in the Velvet Revolution.

“In the wider context, it is the election of Babis.”

Mr Babis has had trouble installing a government despite being the runaway winner of an election last October. His single-party cabinet lost a confidence vote in January.

He is reliant upon Mr Ondracek, who was involved in the Communism-era police service and also fought to clear his name following links with the brutal Communist-era secret police.

In 1989, Mr Ondracek’s police unit used water cannon, clubs and dogs to disperse anti-regime protests.

The demonstrations eventually led to the peaceful overthrow of Communist dictatorship in what became known as the Velvet Revolution.

A video from 1989 posted on YouTube shows Ondracek defending police actions in an interview with state television.

Around 2,000 people are thought to have rallied in the Czech Republic’s second-biggest city of Brno.