- Petr Pavel said he had ‘underestimated the weight’ of the flagpole handed to him
- The commemorative ceremony was held for Czechoslovak Independence Day
Czech President Petr Pavel accidentally bonked a soldier on the head with a flagpole during a commemorative ceremony in Prague.
The head of state misjudged the weight of a large flagpole he was handed, unwittingly swinging it into a soldier standing to attention and knocking off his hat.
The soldier, who was carrying a sword, didn’t react and remained standing in his position during the ceremony.
He then left the hat on the floor as he marched off with his row.
He said: ‘I feel the need to at least apologize in this way for the physical or psychological harm to the member of the Castle Guard who was hit by a battle banner during the ceremony in Vítkov.
‘It was definitely not an attempt to diversify standard military procedure with a new element. I just underestimated the weight.’
The ceremony at the Vitkov Memorial was held on Saturday to mark Czechoslovak Independence Day, which commemorates the founding of Czechoslovakia on October 28 1918 following the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire after the First World War.
During a speech on Friday, the Czech president reiterated his country’s support for Ukraine in the ongoing conflict with Russia.