[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n Bangkok, police-flanked partygoers will ring in the new year at the site of a deadly bombing that took place just months ago. In Paris, residents recovering from their city’s own deadly attacks will enjoy scaled-back celebrations.
look at how people around the world are planning to do exactly that:
Australian officials, struggling to contain the threat from home-grown extremists, encouraged revelers to enjoy the evening and assured that thousands of extra police would be out patrolling the major cities.
Melbourne’s rival, Sydney, takes seriously its position as one of the first major cities in the world to ring in each new year and plans to celebrate in its typical showy fashion. More than 1 million are expected to gather along the famed harbor to watch a glittery display featuring a multicolored firework “waterfall” cascading off the Harbour Bridge and pyrotechnic effects in the shapes of butterflies, octopuses and flowers.
Security has been beefed up in Malaysia’s biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, where fireworks will ring in the new year at a historical square as well as at the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world’s tallest towers.
Malaysian authorities have detained more than 150 suspects linked to the Islamic State group over the past two years, some of whom were allegedly plotting to launch attacks in strategic areas of Kuala Lumpur. In September, the U.S. Embassy warned of a potential terrorist threat at a popular hawker street and its surrounding areas in the city.
An official New Year’s Eve celebration is planned near Beijing’s Forbidden City with performances and fireworks, and one of China’s most popular TV stations will broadcast a gala from the National Stadium, otherwise known as the iconic Bird’s Nest.
For security reasons, Shanghai is closing subways near the scenic waterfront Bund because of a stampede last New Year’s Eve that killed 36 people and blemished the image of China’s most prosperous and modern metropolis.
Beijing’s shopping and bar areas are under a holiday security alert that started before Christmas and has resulted in armed police standing guard at popular commercial areas. Police commonly issue such alerts during holiday periods to ensure safety
No specific threats timed for New Year’s revelries have been detected in the capital, Manila, or other major cities, although government forces are always on alert due to the presence of small but violent Muslim militant groups in the country’s south.
Concern on New Year’s Eve is instead focused on the use of illegal fireworks, which last year injured more than 850 people. Shopping malls and cities have organized fireworks displays to discourage people from lighting their own firecrackers. A huge religious sect, the Iglesia ni Cristo, will attempt to break the world record for the largest fireworks and the highest number of sparklers to be lit in one place.
Less than six months after a pipe bomb killed 20 people at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, tens of thousands are expected to ring in the new year at the same intersection with live music and a countdown.
Up to 5,000 police will be in the area, with explosive ordnance disposal experts making a sweep ahead of time.
Noisier still will be the celebration along the Chao Phraya River, where tourism officials have promised spectacular fireworks over two of the kingdom’s most iconic landmarks, the Grand Palace and Wat Arun — the Temple of Dawn.
Hotels and restaurants in and around New Delhi have been advertising grand party plans with live bands, dancing and plenty of drinks.
With security being a concern, police and anti-terror squads on Tuesday conducted mock terror-attack drills at a crowded shopping mall and food court. Witnesses, however, were unimpressed. Mona Arthur, a Delhi journalist who was in the mall at the time, dubbed the exercise a “mockery of a mock drill.”
She and a friend were shopping when two police officers ran past them. Then a security official said two terrorists had entered the mall.
“The whole thing was comical,” said Arthur, who was irritated that no information was given to shoppers on where to go or what to do.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
In the megacity of Dubai, three separate firework displays are set to wow spectators. The show starts from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 828 meters (905 yards). Already, organizers say the tower has been fitted with 400,000 LED lights and 1.6 tons of fireworks will be used in the display.
From there, fireworks also will light up the sky around the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab and later down near the Dubai Marina. Fireworks also will be on display in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country of seven emirates.
The fireworks will end a year of challenges for the United Arab Emirates, which saw global oil prices drop below $40 a barrel and dozens of its soldiers killed in the ongoing Saudi-led war against Shiite rebels in Yemen. Meanwhile, the Mideast as a whole still reels from the onslaught of the Islamic State group.
The French are still recovering from the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris, and authorities are preparing for a possible worst-case scenario on New Year’s Eve. About 60,000 police and troops will be deployed across the country on Thursday.
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.
In previous years, more than 600,000 French and foreign visitors gathered on the famous avenue for New Year’s Eve. This year, it will be closed to vehicles for just one hour instead of the usual three. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the “noble and decent” show will be aimed at “sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together.”