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Slovak Coalition Huddles After Biggest Protests Since Communism

  • Crowds gather in biggest rallies since fall of communism
  • Crisis deepens as prime minister rejects demonstrator demands
People hold placards featuring Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during a protest in Bratislava on March 2, 2018.

People hold placards featuring Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico during a protest in Bratislava on March 2, 2018.

Photographer: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

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Slovakia’s ruling parties prepared to respond after tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the biggest protests since the fall of the Iron curtain, calling on Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government to step down over a failure to fight corruption.

The biggest crisis faced by the three-time premier’s government, triggered by the murder of an investigative journalist last month, lurched deeper on Friday after Fico refused to retract accusations that the demonstrations are being organized from abroad. His denouncements have thrust him into a group of populist leaders in the European Union’s east that includes Hungary’s illiberal premier, Viktor Orban, who’ve blamed foreigners for trying to oust them.