Turkmen government 'orders people to exercise'
People in Turkmenistan have been told to exercise as part of a month-long official campaign to promote healthy living, reports say.
State officials, workers and students have been participating in group exercise routines, and they are also required to attend a variety of sporting events, according to Chrono TM, a Vienna-based opposition website. The activities reportedly range from communal jogs and bike rides to horse races.
In the town of Dashoguz, on the border with Uzbekistan, local authorities ordered all local government institutions to send staff to a running event, the website says.
State television has been broadcasting footage of large groups of civil servants exercising outside their offices, some of which has been uploaded online by US-funded Radio Liberty. The Turkmen government has an absolute monopoly on the country's media.
The "Month of Health and Happiness" is now held annually in Turkmenistan on the order of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who is known as a healthy-living enthusiast. According to the government's website, the campaign forms part of his "wise and far-sighted policy" to keep citizens of the country healthy.
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