Tuesday October 19, 2021

Turkmenistan to hold WWII military parade despite pandemic

AFP
May 02, 2020

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: 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.