Mexico has begun elaborate celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the start of its independence from Spain.

On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered in Mexico City to watch a parade, fireworks and light show.

Later in the evening, Mexican President Felipe Calderon was expected to give the famous cry of the call to arms, known as "El Grito" or "The Shout" in Mexico City.

The celebration re-enacts the 1810 call for independence by Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo, which began Mexico's long struggle for independence from Spain.

Security for the celebrations is tight because of concerns over drug-related violence.  Those concerns have prompted some municipalities in Mexico to call off celebrations because of fears that drug cartels might try to disrupt the events.

More than 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Calderon took office in late 2006 and began a crackdown on the cartels.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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