US & Canada

Americans celebrate Fourth of July 2017

People participate in the Avondale Estates 4th of July Parade to celebrate the US Independence Day holiday in Avondale Estates, Georgia, USA, 04 July 2017 Image copyright EPA
Image caption A girl waves a flag during a parade in Georgia

Millions of Americans have been celebrating Independence Day across the States, with parades, cook-outs - and the reopening of a beach at the centre of a political storm.

The Fourth of July holiday remembers the day in 1776 the 13 American colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming citizens' right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But not everyone was taking the day too seriously.

Molly Schuyler marked the auspicious occasion by eating 21 Z-Burger hamburgers in an impressive 10 minutes in Washington, thereby successfully defending her title.

Not to be outdone, in Brooklyn, Joey Chestnut claimed his 10th title, eating a not insignificant 72 frankfurters in the same time during Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

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Media captionJoey Chestnut ate 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Sister Mary Augustin hands out balloons in New York
Image copyright AFP
Image caption In Washington, Sikh community members march in a parade

A couple of hours south, Island Beach State Park in New Jersey reopened to the public.

The beach had briefly become one of the country's best-known just days earlier, when Governor Chris Christie and his family were pictured sunning themselves on its deserted sands - the politician having shut it to the public due to a row over the state budget.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump returned from his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, to celebrate the day at the White House.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A parade in New York
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Independence Day was also being celebrated in Denmark

On the other side of the country, in Oregon, 13,000 people gathered for a peace and love festival, at which 15 people were arrested and two people died.

A spokeswoman for the Rainbow Family Gathering said neither deaths were related to violence.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A parade in Washington DC
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Enjoying the sun on a packed beach in Coney Island

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