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HONOLULU - The presence of a few activists protesting the alleged desecration of ancient graves couldn't stop scores of shoppers from converging on the state's seventh and largest Wal-Mart store, which opened here earlier this week, according to published reports.
Following a traditional Hawaiian blessing and the untying of a lei at the front doors, customers who had lined up hours in advance surged in.
Native Hawaiian groups had unsuccessfully attempted to block the store opening until after the reburial of 44 sets of remains uncovered during construction on the long-empty Keemaumoku Superblock. The reburial would be at the store site.
According to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin, the company is treating the Hawaiian remains respectfully. Lin said they had been temporarily placed "in an air-conditioned, darkened trailer in a secure location on the site." State approval is required to rebury them at the location, she added.
Eight hundred employees work at the new store. Wal-Mart has a total of 4,400 associates in Hawaii. The location additionally features a Sam's Club members-only outlet slated to open next week.