Washington, Aug 10 (ANI): Two Belarus journalists have been arrested and fined for posing for pictures with teddy bears, after hundreds of stuffed animals were dropped from the sky into the country as part of a pro-democracy stunt.
Irina Kozlik, 27, a journalist for Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, and Yulia Doroshkevish, 31, a press photographer, were each fined three million Belarussian roubles, or approximately 400 dollars.
The fines came the same day Alexander Lukashenko, the country's authoritarian president, announced that he believes the Swedish embassy in Minsk had a part in the July 4 stunt, in which a plane chartered by the Swedish PR firm, Studio Total, dropped 800 teddy bears bearing pro-democracy messages over Belarus airspace.
Those who came and prepared the violation of the state border worked together with the (Swedish) embassy. We have proof of this, the New York Daily News quoted President Lukashenko, as saying.
Both Kozlik and Doroshkevich were reportedly accused of carrying out an unsanctioned protest.
The July stunt is the latest in a string of pro-democracy protests staged to mock President Lukashenko's controlling ruling style, since he came in power in 1994, three years after the Soviet Union collapsed, the paper said.
President Lukashenko also expelled Sweden's ambassador and fired his air defense and border chiefs in the wake of the incident, the paper added. (ANI)