- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MINSK, Belarus — It’s probably the first time in history that teddy bears have defeated generals.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s office says two generals have been sacked after a Swedish light plane intruded on the authoritarian state’s airspace and dropped hundreds of teddy bears carrying slogans supporting human rights and media freedom.

Officials in the ex-Soviet state denied the July 4 incident until Lukashenko called a government meeting last week to scold authorities for allowing a “provocation.” On Tuesday, the Belarusian ruler fired the nation’s air defense chief and the head of the Border Guards service and reprimanded several other top security officials.

Lukashenko has ruled the nation of 10 million since 1994. He has stifled dissent and independent media, earning the nickname of “Europe’s last dictator.”

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