1 Jun 2012

Samoa prisoners granted amnesty as part of independence celebrations

12:39 pm on 1 June 2012

Samoa's head of state, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, has granted amnesty to 35 prisoners to show forgiveness as part of 50 years of independence celebrations.

Thousands have gathered at parliament to mark the golden jubilee.

Philippa Tolley is at parliament.

"Bands, military and police groups have started to parade in front of gathered dignitaries from around Polynesia, they will be followed by church and social groups and an estimated 13,000 could take part. Earlier the Samoa flag was raised by the last original member of the Constitutional convention and that was followed by a 21 gun salute."

Tui Atua told the thousands at parliament grounds that today Samoa is a proud nation.

This is a momentous day in the history of our country. Today is the 50 anniversary of the birth of a our nation, the independent state of Samoa, today we come together from far and wide to as children and friends of Samoa to take pause, bare witness, reflect on and share in the maturity of our nation.