23 Jul 2020

Thousands march through Port Vila to mark Vanuatu's independence

9:25 pm on 23 July 2020

Close to 20,000 people have marched through Port Vila for the opening of Vanuatu's 40th Independence Anniversary celebrations.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific / Hilaire Bule

The parade started in the Tagabe area and finished four and a half hours later at the Independence Park.

It began with a ceremony at the march starting point where a Vanuatu flag was handed over from family of the first Prime Minister, Father Walter Lini, to family of the second Prime Minister, Donald Kalpokas.

The flag was handed to representatives of successive prime ministers with the last station seeing Charlot Salwai present to current Prime Minister, Bob Loughman.

At the park the National Council of Chiefs, Malvatumauri, thanked the chiefs of Efate for hosting the event in the capital.

The Malvatumauri also performed a ceremony to Loughman as a token of appreciation for the government's service to the people of Vanuatu.

The country is holding a nine day public holiday to mark the independence celebrations.

Independence Day is next Thursday.

Thousands march through Port Vila

Thousands march through Port Vila Photo: RNZ Pacific / Hilaire Bule