Argentina celebrates 200 years of its revolution

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The Independent Online

Argentina on Tuesday celebrates the 200th anniversary of its revolution, which brought independence from Spain, with lavish parades in Buenos Aires and a phalanx of visiting heads of state and dignitaries.

The capital's famous Teatro Colon concert hall opened late Monday, after a four-year refurbishment project, for a special ceremony that included ballet and extracts from famous operas and was beamed via projectors onto walls outside.

Uruguay's President Jose Mujica attended the re-opening and on Tuesday will preside over the celebratory parade in the sprawling 9 de Julio Avenue, alongside Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and counterparts from Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay and Ecuador.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late Monday issued a statement congratulating Argentina for its milestone.

"As you celebrate Argentina's bicentennial this year, the people of the United States send their sincere congratulations and best wishes," Clinton said.

"We are deeply appreciative of the many years of cooperation and mutual respect between our two countries, and look forward to our continued collaborative efforts," she added.

Bicentennial celebrations began on Friday in Buenos Aires, with millions of people in attendance, making it the biggest outdoor party Argentina has seen since it celebrated its return to democratic rule after seven years of military dictatorship in 1983.

With its revolution of May 25, 1810, Argentina began shedding colonial rule from Spain, leading to the independence of Chile and Peru and on July 9, 1816 to that of Argentina itself.