Authorities in the Belgian capital canceled Thursday’s New Year festivities after unveiling a suspected holiday terror plot. Celebrations in Paris, which is still recovering from its own deadly attack, were scaled back.
But as 2015 drew to a close, revelers around the world were refusing to let security fears ruin the party. More than a million people turned out for Sydney’s annual fireworks extravaganza, filling boats, balconies and waterside parks and cheering loudly as the first bursts of color erupted over the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Tens of thousands more whooped it up as the festivities moved on to Beijing, Hong Kong and other major cities.
In a number of other places, celebrations were more muted due to the threat of attacks. Paris has canceled its usual fireworks display and will instead display a 5-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysée.
Thousands of police were due to be deployed in central London, though Mayor Boris Johnson told revelers, “Get out there and soak up the best we have to offer.”
Authorities in Russia and China announced that high-profile gathering places — including Moscow’s Red Square — would be closed for the evening. In New York, nearly 6,000 police officers were being deployed to protect the celebrations in Times Square. They included hundreds of specially trained counterterrorism officers equipped with radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.
Still, most places are forging ahead with their celebrations as many refuse to let jitters ruin the joy of the holiday. “We still have this fear but we need to continue to live,” said Parisian Myriam Oukik. “We will celebrate.”