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Belarus asks Lithuania to probe teddy bear claims

AFP/The Local · 10 Aug 2012, 13:41

Published: 10 Aug 2012 13:41 GMT+02:00

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Prosecutors in the Baltic state said they were asked for legal assistance "to investigate a possible breach of the state border when a Swedish-piloted light aircraft crossed the Lithuanian-Belarus border."

"Currently data is being collected, and the request for legal assistance will be considered," Ruta Dirsiene, the state prosecutors' spokesman told AFP.

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

Belarus -- ruled by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko -- has since expelled all Swedish diplomats and threatened consequences for Lithuania after the incident orchestrated by a Swedish advertising firm.

"Lithuania should not be sitting like mice under a broom. They must answer to us why they provided their territory for national border violation," Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Thursday.

"If there is anyone who won't find it funny, it is Lithuania," Lukashenko warned.

Lithuanian officials have refused to comment.

"If teddy bears are a threat to the Belarusian administration, Lukashenko's regime must be cracking at the seams," Nerijus Maliukevicius, a political scientist at Vilnius University told AFP Friday.

He also drew a parallel between the teddy bear incident and the prosecution of the anti-Putin girl punk rock band Pussy Riot in Russia.

"Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko have come up against a tremendous evil to fight -- Pussy Riot and teddy bears.

"This should be viewed in an indulgent or humorous manner, however. Their behaviour is characteristic of authoritarian leaders. It may seem funny to us, but it is a tragedy for those who face it," Maliukevicius added.

Like Belarus, Lithuania won independence from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991.

Story continues below…

But the two countries have followed very different paths since then.

Lithuania is firmly anchored in the West, having joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

Later on Friday, ambassadors from the 27 EU states will meet to respond to the expulsion by Belarus of Swedish diplomats.

Brussels has already imposed a raft of sanctions against Belarus over its jailing of citizens for political reasons.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:16 August 10, 2012 by ryannewman
"Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko have come up against a tremendous evil to fight -- Pussy Riot and teddy bears. "

I do realize that Sweden law is extremely liberal and perhaps what they did wasn't a crime...

Howeever - these girls have a long list of offenses that include public group sex in biology museum, hijacking public transport, etc.
16:24 August 10, 2012 by Kevin Harris

".... public group sex in biology museum ....."

I'm appalled. What exactly happened? Was there any photographic evidence I can examine to further compound my horror?
16:39 August 10, 2012 by OUIJA
"The move came after Swedish activists illegally flew a plane into Belarus last month dropping hundreds of teddy bears attached to little parachutes carrying signs calling for freedom of speech and human rights."

This is the question: Swedish activists ILLEGALLY flew a plane into Belarus". Swedish activist who made a tie-in with the Swedish ambassador to harass Lukashenko.

Question: How would Sweden react if a foreign country flies illegally into Sweden to throw

horse manure in Stockholm and to encourage Sweden Democrats to throw down Fredrik Rainfiel's dictatorship government?

I wonder
16:51 August 10, 2012 by ryannewman
@ Kevin Harris

Yes. They themselves got everything documented... It's a shame that corporate media hides this....

1) Pussy Riot gig at Christ the Savior Cathedral (original video)

youtube . COM/watch?v=grEBLskpDWQ

2) Pussy riot gig (public) at the biology museum. Pregnant one is Tolokonnikova -one of the arrested from Pussy Riot:

plucer.livejournal . COM/55710.html

3) Pussy riot stunt in the grocery store (yep - there were children present there)

kotkin-egor . livejournal . com/655499.html

liveleak . COM/view?i=aea_1343072683


lj . rossia . org/users/wisegizmo/

newstreetuniver . livejournal . COM/184184.html


pussy-riot . livejournal . COM/5763.html

6) sexual assault, interference with the duties of a police officer,

and creating a public disturbance.

youtube . COM/watch?v=l0A8Qf893cs

7) Unauthorized red square performance:

ma-zaika . RU/post202301280

8) Throwing urine onto police...

I've seen the video just can't find it now....
01:49 August 11, 2012 by Zhorka
When Russian planes incidentally cross Lithuanian airspace for 20 sec or so, the Lithuanian authorities start whining and put official compaints. Look for the change of their attitude when a plane from Lithuanian territory intrudes into Belorussian airspace and spends their considerable while dumping objects...
04:19 August 11, 2012 by Lauraj
Dear Zhorka

Maybe you should read up on Lithuanian history before you post on their reactions to Russian planes crossing into Lithuanian airspace. The last time that happened, Lithuania ended up being occupied for 50 years. You can hardly blame them for reacting.

While Swedish PR firm dropping teddy bears in support for poeples' right to democracy is not really exact same thing.

But maybe that's hard for you to fathom. Judging by your name you are either Russian or Belarus. And not one interested in democracy. Regimes have a way of making stupid people even more stupid.
06:54 August 11, 2012 by sleezypornorangutang
Yo the LOCAL: Why don´t you photoshop the guys finger and stick it his mouth. please, preetty pwease...
10:16 August 11, 2012 by Zhorka
Dear Lauraj,

Last time a Russian plane crossed Lithuanian airspace for 20 sec about a year ago. As far as I know Lithuania was not occupied at that time and in any case 50 years could not pass since then for obvious reason. What followed, was a lot of whining about the incident from Lithuania, despite it did not pose any threat.

I understand that Lithuania is not an independent state in real sense, but it should at least try to control its borders, even a if a little bit.
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