Czech president burns giant pair of red underwear in bizarre press stunt

The president of the Czech Republic stunned journalists at a press conference on Thursday where he set a giant pair of red underwear on fire.

Milos Zeman, 73, arranged the impromptu event without giving a reason. When reporters arrived for the briefing, he instead looked on as two firefighters set the pair of three-foot long briefs alight in the garden of Prague Castle.

The bizarre demonstration was supposedly meant to symbolize “the time to end the era of dirty laundry in politics," according to Radio Praha.

Zeman then told the press corps: “I’m sorry to make you look like little idiots, you really don’t deserve."

Czech President Milos Zeman (2nd from right) burns the red trunks, which the Ztohoven artistic group hanged out at the Prague Castle's roof instead of the presidential flag in 2015, in the Castle garden with journalists present on Thursday, June 14, 2018. On this occasion, Zeman told reporters that politics should be done on the basis of the exchange of arguments and not based on underwear. He added that the times of underwear in politics were over. "To demonstrate this opinion, I have decided to burn the red trunks we bought from the Office for the Government Representation in Property Affairs for a single crown," Zeman said. The Castle firefighters in their full professional outfits then laid the red boxer shorts on the fireplace and burnt them near a pond in the Lumbe Garden in the Castle complex. The Presidential Office announced on Wednesday that Zeman would give a press briefing at 16:30 on Thursday, but Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek kept the issue of the briefing secret. This provoked the media and public speculations. Zeman told reporters that he had tested their intelligence in vain. "I am sorry to make blockheads of you, you really do not deserve this," he told dozens of journalists. On the photo with Zeman are seen Zeman"s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek (left) and Presidenatil office head Vratislav Mynar (right). Photo/Michal Kamaryt (CTK via AP Images)

Pants on fire: The president of the Czech Republic stunned journalists at a press conference on Thursday where he set a giant pair of red underwear on fire  (AP)

The boxers were made by artist collective Ztohoven, who once flew them above the Czech presidential palace instead of the national flag in 2015.

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They were made in response to what they perceived as Zeman’s closeness to China and Russia. The president reportedly purchased the same pair from the state property office for one Czech crown.

Petr Gazdik of the opposition Stan party, said that he “would say that the President has gone mad” if he did not have respect for the office of the presidency. He added that the stunt “reduces the dignity of the presidential office."

The pro-Trump, anti-immigration Zeman, who won re-election to the presidential office in January, has had a series of run-ins with the press during his tenure.

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In May 2017, he remarked to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “journalists should be liquidated," although he later claimed it was a joke.

Last October, he turned up to a press conference with a toy Kalashnikov rifle in his hand that was labelled “for journalists," and in January 2016, he joked that the then prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka could be “got rid of” by shooting him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Chris Irvine is Senior News Editor at Fox News. His Twitter can be found @chrisirvine86