BFF-35 Turkmenistan to hold WWII military parade despite pandemic

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TURKMENISTAN-ARMY-HEALTH

Turkmenistan to hold WWII military parade despite pandemic

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, May 1, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Turkmenistan on Friday
confirmed plans to hold a military parade marking 75 years since the end of
World War II as the Central Asian state maintains it has no coronavirus
cases.

“Turkmenistan will celebrate May 9 Victory Day with a military parade and
fireworks,” the Miras state television channel reported.

The newsreader said that various branches of the armed forces are
rehearsing for the parade, which will also include World War II-era vehicles.

The parade will take place on a square in the capital Ashgabat in front of
the Eternal Flame memorial to fallen soldiers.

The decision comes after Russia postponed a grandiose Red Square parade
with invited guests including French President Emmanuel Macron due to the
coronavirus pandemic.

Another exception is Belarus, which has not indicated it will cancel its
traditional May 9 parade in Minsk.

Turkmenistan, a politically isolated oil-rich state, is one of the few
countries in the world not to report any coronavirus cases.

Fellow Central Asian state Tajikistan also reported no cases until Thursday
when it said 15 people had tested positive.

A source in the Turkmen culture ministry told AFP that the government
decided it was safe to go ahead with the parade.

“Not a single case of the illness has been identified and so a decision was
taken at the government level to pass on the torch of commemoration and hold
the parade,” the source said.

Unlike several other ex-Soviet countries, Turkmenistan has not previously
held parades on May 9.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began it has continued to hold mass public
events.

On Sunday, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov attended a packed horse
racing event although he sat in a separate box.

BSS/AFP/MRU/1750hrs