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New Czech justice minister appointed amid protests

April 30, 2019
Thousands of people take part in a march in the centre of Prague, Monday April 29, 2019, to protest the proposed replacement of the justice minister. The protesters said Monday it might compromise the legal system at a time when prosecutors have to decide whether to indict Prime Minister Andrej Babis over alleged fraud involving European Union funds. (Vit Simanek/CTK via AP)
Thousands of people take part in a march in the centre of Prague, Monday April 29, 2019, to protest the proposed replacement of the justice minister. The protesters said Monday it might compromise the legal system at a time when prosecutors have to decide whether to indict Prime Minister Andrej Babis over alleged fraud involving European Union funds. (Vit Simanek/CTK via AP)

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech President Milos Zeman has sworn in a new justice minister amid street protests against her appointment.

Thousands have ralled in Prague and elsewhere to protest the appointment of Marie Benesova, who they say might compromise the legal system as prosecutors decide whether to indict Prime Minister Andrej Babis over alleged fraud involving European Union funds.

Babis denies wrongdoing and his close ally Zeman has repeatedly criticized the prosecution. The justice minister has significant control over the prosecution.

As a lawmaker, Benesova voted against a police request to strip Babis of parliamentary immunity to face investigation. The protesters and the opposition say she might try to influence his case.

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