The president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, appears to have started a diplomatic row after pocketing a promotional pen during a conference with Chilean president Sebastian Pinera.

Klaus was captured on video taking the ceremonial pen during his recent trip to Chile – after spending a long time admiring the promotional item.

Since Klaus took the promotional pen, a Facebook group has been set up encouraging people to send their unwanted writing devices to the president.

More than 5,000 people have already signed up to the campaign, which claims: “Mr President obviously has nothing to write with.”

A video of the incident posted on YouTube has already had more than 350,000 hits – so it is unlikely that the 'theft' can be simply swept under the rug by the president's administration.

According to Reuters, the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes wrote: “Even though protocol allows Klaus to take the pen, with which the foreign minister signed a transport agreement, as a souvenir, internet users are branding the Czech president as a thief.”

1 Mueller, Robert. “Czech media teases president for pocketing pen”. Tuesday, April 12th 2011.

Posted by Cheryl Jackson-Leafield