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Thursday
Aug022012

Belarus Security Officials Fired over Teddy Bear Aerial Assault

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MINSK, Belarus) -- If pigs could fly, why not teddys?

In Belarus, heads rolled after hundreds of teddy bears floated down to earth attached to tiny parachutes. All part of a stunt by a Swedish advertising firm, the bears were all carrying messages calling for freedom of speech.

But Belarus' President Aleksandr Lukashenko was not amused and this week announced that his air force and border security chiefs would both be fired for allowing the air drop. The glaring security breach was one the president could not ignore as photos and videos of the stunt had been uploaded and posted all around the Internet.  Lukashenko called security officials out at a meeting last week, The New York Time reports.

"How do you explain the provocation with the airplane that not only crossed our borders, but entered the territory of Belarus unpunished?" he grilled the officials, according to the Times. "Was this the stupidity of specific actors or systemic mistakes in the defense of the airspace?"

President Lukashenko responded Thursday to those who question his decision to remove the two generals from their post.

"There should not be much fuss about it," he told the Belarusian Telegraph Agency. "Quite the opposite, the punishment was too lenient. In times of the Soviet Union, these people would be jailed."

Meanwhile, a young journalism student has been arrested and is being held in police custody. Anton Suryapin, who posted photos of the teddy bears on the Internet is accused of aiding and abetting the stunt, and could face up to seven years in jail.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio