Danish artists challenge Belarus's autocratic Lukanshenko with sticker protest

TERESPOL, Poland -- Two Danish artists launched a humorous protest Friday against Belarus' autocratic president, Alexander Lukashenko, putting up stickers at a border crossing with Poland that poke fun at the leader.

Jan Egesborg and Pia Bertelsen plastered the provocative green stickers at a bus station and border crossing with Belarus in the eastern Polish town of Terespol where they could be seen by Belarusian travelers.

"You know nothing," read one sticker, addressing Lukashenko. Others proclaimed: "You are beautiful like a potato" and "You are as wise as a cow."

The Copenhagen duo, whose group is named "Surrend," have carried out similar protests against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Serbian war crimes suspect Radko Mladic. They say they want to undermine the grip on power of dictators.

"Lukashenko has put people in prison for making satire," Egesborg told The Associated Press. "So we're taking art to the street to undermine dictators. It's a way of saying that you can conquer these mighty men."

Some older Belarusians reacted angrily to the stickers, ripping them down and in some cases trying to paste them onto the artists' backs.

"The older people were really against us doing it and they said 'how can you insult our president? Belarus is a very good country,"' Bertelsen told The Associated Press.

"But young people came to us and asked if they could have the stickers to take back to Belarus. And we could see that some people given the stickers put them up of their own initiative."

The artists said they staged the protest in Poland out of fear their stickers would be confiscated if they tried to enter Belarus with them.

Belarus, a country of 10 million that lies between Poland and Russia, has been described by the United States and Western European countries as Europe's last dictatorship. (AP)