Sydney : Australia rang in the new year with a spectacular fireworks display in Sydney, sending rainbow-coloured showers into the night sky and defying the global terror attacks that cast a pall over 2016.
Around 1.5 million people packed Australia’s biggest city to watch as the midnight fireworks erupted from Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the extravaganza beamed to television sets and phones across the world. The visual feast paid tribute to some of the international musical legends who died this year, including David Bowie and Prince, with purple rain pouring off the bridge in an early display and firework “stars” soaring high above the harbour. 2016 has seen repeated bloodshed, most recently a deadly truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market, a similar incident on Bastille Day in France that killed 86, and atrocities in Turkey and the Middle East.
Around 2,000 extra officers have been deployed in Sydney after a man was arrested for allegedly making online threats against the celebrations.
There were a number of other reported threats this holiday period, in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere.
Despite the terror fears, revellers in Hong Kong and Taipei were expected to throng city streets to watch firework performances. In Japan, shoppers filled markets to buy tuna and crabs – seen as expensive items for special feasts – for New Year’s Day family gatherings. The German capital has beefed up security after the December 19 carnage, deploying more police, some armed with machine-guns. “This year, what’s new is that we will place concrete blocks and position heavy armoured vehicles at the entrances” to the zone around Brandenburg Gate, a police spokesman said.