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Turkmen Independence Fete Under Way

Marchers carrying a portrait of President Niyazov (AFP) 27 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmenistan has started two days of celebrations to mark the 14th anniversary of the country's independence from the Soviet Union, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported.

The country's flag was raised in Ashgabat's main square, Independence Square, kicking off a military parade attended by President Saparmurat Niyazov and broadcast live on Turkmen television.

The parade showed servicemen shouting "Long live the great leader," referring to Niyazov. Helicopters and fighter aircraft were flew over the square.

Celebrations also included an equestrian show, a parade of officials, plays, and dances.