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National Briefing / Hawaii

Anniversary met with protest

August 22, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Hawaii marked its entry as the 50th state with a new postage stamp, but independence supporters marked the day with passionate protest -- including an effigy of Uncle Sam being beaten and Hawaii's star cut out from the U.S. flag.

State leaders called the anniversary events a "commemoration" of the state's 1959 entry into the union rather than a "celebration" out of respect to Native Hawaiians' unresolved claims since the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

A few hundred protesters marched through downtown Honolulu with a 15-foot effigy of Uncle Sam holding machine guns and riding in a tank made of cardboard. They chanted in Hawaiian, blew on conch shells, waved ti leaves and yelled: "We are not Americans! We want our country back!"

President Obama, who was born in the state, signed a proclamation marking the anniversary and said that in his youth he learned from Hawaii's diversity.

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