New Year: Celebrations mark start of 2016


January 1, 2016

Media captionFirework displays in cities around the world marked the arrival of the New Year

Countries around the world are marking the New Year, with festivities under way in the US and Canada.

In New York, a million people converged on Times Square, amid tight security, to watch the famous ball descend.

In Brazil, crowds packed Rio’s de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach to watch a spectacular firework display.

Earlier, European cities ushered in 2016 – despite heightened security measures in some countries.

In Japan, people released balloons by Tokyo Tower, while South Koreans celebrated with traditional bell-ringing.

Revellers in Australia and New Zealand were among the first to welcome 2016.

Crowds counted down at Auckland’s Sky Tower in New Zealand, with a laser show and fireworks display. Fireworks also lit up Sydney harbour in Australia.

Revellers celebrate as confetti flies over New YorkImage copyrightAP
Image captionA million people packed into New York’s Times Square
Fireworks go off to mark the beginning 2016 during New YearImage copyrightAP
Image captionPeople in Toronto flocked to Nathan Phillips Square
Fireworks explode over Copacabana beach during New Year celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 1 Jan 2016Image copyrightReuters
Image captionCopacabana beach in Rio’s de Janeiro was lit up by fireworks
People embrace near the Eiffel tower during New Year celebrations in Paris (01 January 2016)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionCelebrations were held in Paris despite the terror attacks of 2015
Soldiers patrol as people see in the New Year in the historic centre of Brussels. The New Year's Eve fireworks display and all official events were cancelled in Belgium's capitalImage copyrightAP
Image captionBut official celebrations were cancelled in the Belgian capital, Brussels, due to threats of an extremist attack
Fireworks explode next to the Quadriga sculpture atop the Brandenburg gate during New Year celebrations in Berlin (01 January 2016)Image copyrightReuters
Image captionCelebrations in Berlin went ahead as police warned of a terror attack in Munich

In London, more than 100,000 people watched the fireworks display by the River Thames with thousands of extra police officers on duty.

In the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, the traditional Hogmanay party received a New Year message from British astronaut Tim Peake who was broadcasting live from the International Space Station.

In Berlin, fireworks were held at the Brandenburg Gate, with one million people estimated to have attended the countdown. The celebrations took place as police in Munich warned of a planned terror attack and asked people to avoid crowds.

In Paris, the traditional fireworks display was cancelled to be replaced by a five-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight. The screening was relayed on screens along the Champs-Elysees.

The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said the video was intended to send “the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together”.

Earlier, President Francois Hollande in a New Year’s Eve address to the nation said that his country had “not finished with terrorism yet”, six weeks after gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris.

Media captionWatch London’s New Year fireworks display in full

In one of the more innovative celebrations, four divers equipped with musical instruments and breathing apparatus performed an underwater “concert” in a fish tank in Yantai, east China.

Festivities went ahead in Dubai despite a fire at the city’s Address Hotel. A fireworks display was held near the Burj Khalifa skyscraper.

Egypt celebrated with fireworks staged in front of the pyramids near Cairo, as the government works to revive its tourist industry.

The Great Pyramids are illuminated for New Year's Eve in Giza, near CairoImage copyrightAP
Image captionThe pyramids were illuminated ahead of celebrations in Giza, near Cairo
People release balloons to celebrate the New Year with Tokyo Tower in the background in TokyoImage copyrightAP
Image captionRevellers in Japan released balloons in front of Tokyo Tower
Firework display from the top of the Sky Tower to welcome the New Year on January 1, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.Image copyrightGetty Images
Image captionAuckland marked New Year with fireworks at the Sky Tower
Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill displays his new vegetable artwork made with vegetables on New YearImage copyrightEPA
Image captionA special New Year artwork in Amritsar, India

Russia – the first major European city to welcome 2016 – held a fireworks display over Red Square in Moscow.

Despite security fears across the continent, many major public events are going ahead, though with heightened security restrictions.

Only 25,000 people in Madrid were allowed into the Puerta del Sol square.

Over in Sierra Leone, the declared end of Ebola was marked by a return to New Year festivities, after Freetown, the capital, was left deserted a year ago due to the disease’s outbreak.