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Belarus: Reporters protest over teddy bear arrest

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Belarus: Reporters protest over teddy bear arrest
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Journalists in Belarus have been protesting over the arrest of a blogger for posting pictures of teddy bears on the internet.

The cuddly toys had been dropped from the sky into the hardline state in a pro-democracy stunt last month.

Journalism student Anton Suryapin could face seven years in jail for publishing images of them. His parents find it difficult to believe their son has
been detained for weeks over the teddy bear photos.

“I didn’t even know this happened in our country, that incidents like this happen…like them beating up journalists,” said the blogger’s father, Andrei Suryapin. “I only found out about this when they arrested my son….It is absurd.”

Some 800 toy bears were dropped into Belarus from a light aircraft, chartered by a Swedish public relations firm. Each carried a message urging greater respect for human rights.

After firing senior officials over the incident, President Alexander Lukashenko has ordered that weapons be used to stop any further unlawful air intrusions by foreigners.

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