(AFP) – May 26, 2010
BUENOS AIRES — Two million people and eight heads of state from across South America took to the streets of the Argentine capital late into the night Tuesday in celebration of 200 years since its revolution.
The leaders -- including Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Ecuador's Rafael Correa -- accompanied their counterpart Cristina Kirchner at the parade in central Buenos Aires to mark the May 25, 1810 revolution, which six years later brought independence from Spain.
Gathered outside the Cabildo building, the former seat of Argentine government, the leaders celebrated the bicentennial along with revellers at the Plaza de Mayo following a show involving some 2,000 dancers and singers.
Earlier in the day lavish parades were held throughout Buenos Aires.
The capital's famous Teatro Colon concert hall was also opened after a four-year refurbishment project for a special ceremony, which included ballet and extracts from famous operas beamed via projectors onto walls outside.
Uruguay's President Jose Mujica and Chile's new leader Sebastian Pinera were also in attendance at the main celebratory parade along the sprawling 9 de Julio Avenue.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement ahead of the anniversary congratulating Argentina for its milestone, sending the "sincere congratulations" of the United States.
"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 said.
The 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 in 1983 after seven years of military dictatorship.
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