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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:51 AM

Teddy bears drop in, bring down 2 Belarus generals

MINSK, Belarus (AP) —It's probably the first time in history that teddy bears have defeated generals.

Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has sacked two of the nation's top defense officials after two Swedish advertising agency employees piloted a light plane into the country's heavily guarded airspace, dropping 879 teddy bears decked out in parachutes and slogans supporting human rights.

Officials in the ex-Soviet state denied the July 4 incident until Lukashenko called a meeting last week to scold authorities for allowing such a "provocation."

The Belarusian ruler nicknamed "Europe's last dictator" on Tuesday fired the nation's air defense chief and the head of the Border Guards service and reprimanded several other top security officials, his office said Wednesday.


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Reply Teddy bears drop in, bring down 2 Belarus generals (Original post)
bemildred Aug 2012 OP
bemildred Aug 2012 #1
bemildred Aug 2012 #2
bemildred Aug 2012 #3
bemildred Aug 2012 #4

Response to bemildred (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:10 AM

1. Belarus Opposition Activists In New Teddy Bear Protest

Activists have placed several teddy bears in Minsk's city center with placards demanding the release of two activists arrested over a teddy-bear air drop last month.

On July 4, a Swedish plane flew over Belarus from neighboring Lithuania and dropped teddy bears over Minsk accompanied by texts supporting Belarusian dissidents and the country’s opposition.

Anton Surapin was arrested for placing photos of the teddy bears on the Internet and Syarhey Basharymau was detained for providing Swedish organizers of the stunt with accommodation in Minsk.

The teddy bears placed by activists on August 2 were dressed in paratroopers' striped underwear, as in Belarus, Russia, and some other former Soviet countries, August 2 is marked as Paratroopers Day.


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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 03:28 PM

2. Belarus expels Sweden's envoy after teddy bear incident

MINSK — Belarus expelled Sweden's ambassador Friday saying he tried to "destroy" ties with the ex-Soviet state run by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, after a pro-democracy stunt by a Swedish firm.

The move came after Swedish activists illegally flew a plane into Belarus early last month and dropped hundreds of teddy bears attached to little parachutes carrying signs calling for freedom of speech and human rights.

Lukashenko dismissed the country's top border control official and the top air force commander after the incident orchestrated by a Swedish advertising firm.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt conceded the expulsion could be linked to the widely-reported teddy-bear incident and called it "scandalous".


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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 12:13 PM

3. Belarus fines two for toy bear photos after airdrop

(Reuters) - Authorities in Belarus arrested and fined two journalists for posing for photographs holding teddy bears after hundreds were dropped by air on the country in a pro-democracy stunt, the Belarussian Association of Journalists said on Thursday.

Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president, also suggested on Thursday that the Swedish embassy in Minsk had been involved in planning the July 4 escapade, in an outburst likely to widen a diplomatic rift with Sweden over the incident.

"Those who came and prepared the violation of the state border worked together with the (Swedish) embassy. We have proof of this," Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the Belarus state news agency Belta.

The journalists' arrest and Lukashenko's accusation underlined the depth of his anger and embarrassment over the stunt and his determination to punish those he views as being responsible for it.


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Response to bemildred (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 05:39 PM

4. EU backs Sweden in Belarus teddy bear stunt row

The EU has backed Sweden after urgent talks over a diplomatic row the country has had with Belarus.

A stunt by a Swedish PR firm which dropped toy bears with pro-democracy messages over Belarus led to Swedish diplomats being effectively expelled.

EU diplomat Olof Skoog said "a very clear message" would be sent to Belarusian embassies in the next few days expressing support for Sweden.

However, the EU stopped short of further action against Belarus.


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