Belarus-Sweden Teddy Bear War Gets Nastier
Belarus closes its embassy in Stockholm, arrests 2
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2012 8:08 AM CDT
In this undated photo provided by Studio Total teddy bears hang on parachutes during a training in Stockholm, Sweden.   (AP Photo/Studio Total/Per Cromwell)

(Newser) – The great Belarus-Sweden teddy bear war continues to escalate, with Belarus booting Sweden's ambassador from the country and closing its own embassy in Stockholm, reports the BBC. Since a Swedish PR firm parachuted 879 teddy bears bearing pro-democracy slogans on July 4, Belarus' longtime President Alexander Lukashenko has reacted furiously, firing two senior officials and telling their replacements to use force against any further planes that violate the country's airspace.

Two Belarusian men have been detained by security forces on suspicions they were complicit in the teddy bear drop. The BBC notes that the Swedish ambassador was expelled on Aug. 3, after reportedly meeting with the Belarus opposition, and for apparently giving a university books that discussed human rights issues. The AP reports that Belarus has ordered Sweden to shutter its embassy in Minsk by month's end.