By RNZ Pacific
More than 20,000 people have marched through Port Vila for the opening of Vanuatu’s 40th Independence Anniversary celebrations.
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 the 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 Independence 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 for Prime Minister 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.
This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.