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Teddy bear air drop still roils in Belarus

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Gero Breloer/AP

(Read caption) Swedish Tomas Mazetti, left, and Hannah Frey, right, show a teddy bear on a parachute as they pose for a photo in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 1.

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The "teddy bear war" is heating up. 

No, it's not happening on the Forest Moon of Endor, but in a place that often seems almost as strange and remote: the post-Soviet republic of Belarus

Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko has ordered his law enforcement officials to get to the bottom of the intrusion into his country's airspace last month by a small private aircraft that dropped 879 teddy bears, each on its own individual parachute and bearing a pro-democracy messages such as "we support the Belarussian struggle for free speech."

The stunt was apparently carried out by two Swedes, Tomas Mazetti and Hannah Frey, who said they learned to fly and piloted the plane from Lithuania into Belarussian airspace as their own personal effort to dramatize the struggle for human rights in Belarus

In an interview with Foreign Policy, Mr. Mazetti and Ms. Frey explained why teddy bears:

TM: There are few examples in history of forcing a dictator to step down through money or weapons alone, and of course one should protest his actions. But a campaign using teddy bears has been received warmly in Belarus, and many people think that it's very funny.

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