From the news desk

Security fears dampen New Year plans around world

Share this article

As the final hours of 2015 draw to a close, many countries are bidding a weary and wary adieu to a year marred by attacks that left many nations reeling, with rattled nerves.

Still, most places are forging ahead with their celebrations as they refuse to let jitters ruin the joy of the holiday.

Here is how some governments will try to balance security and fun on New Year’s eve:


France’s defence minister has visited troops on duty before unusually tense New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris after the November attacks that left 130 dead and hundreds injured.

Jean-Yves Le Drian stressed on Wednesday the need for “special vigilance, full mobilisation and a very significant presence” of security forces.

About 60,000 police and troops are deployed across France. Paris police say 80 percent of their officers are on duty.

Authorities in the capital have cancelled the firework display initially planned. Instead, a five-minute video performance on the Arc de Triomphe will be relayed by big screens on the Champs Elysee just before midnight.


The New Year’s Eve firework display has been cancelled in Belgium’s capital due to threats of an attack.

Yvan Mayeur, the mayor of Brussels, said that the decision was taken on Wednesday evening after consultation with government officials.

“We are forced to cancel considering the risk analysis done by the Crisis Centre,” he told the French-language RTBF network.

On Thursday, Belgian police arrested six people during raids in Brussels, part of an investigation into a plot to carry out an attack in the city on December 31, prosecutors said

A judge would decide later on Thursday whether they could be held further.

Earlier in the week, Belgian police arrested two people suspected of plotting attacks on landmark sites in the capital on New Year’s Eve.

Last December 31, Mayeur said, 100,000 people turned out in the Belgian capital to welcome the New Year.

“In these circumstances, we can’t check everyone,” Mayeur said.

Brussels was home to four of the attackers who killed 130 people in Paris November 13.


It was less than six months ago that a pipe bomb killed 20 people at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, but tens of thousands of people are expected to gather at the same intersection to ring in the New Year with live music and a countdown.

The bombing is not the only shadow hanging over the festivities. Nine years ago, a series of small bombings at various points around the city forced the last-minute cancellation of midnight celebrations at the same venue – which also was ground zero for an extended political protest in 2010 that was quashed by the army with deadly force.


Indonesia is on high alert after authorities said last week that they had foiled a plot by supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group to attack government officials, foreigners and others in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

About 150,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed to safeguard churches, airports and other public places.

Major General Anton Charliyan, the National Police spokesman, said security was focusing on anticipating attacks in vulnerable regions, including the capital Jakarta, the tourist resort of Bali and restive Papua West where President Joko Widodo is celebrating the New Year.

More than 9,000 police are deployed in Bali, the site of Indonesia’s deadliest attack that killed 202 people in 2002.

Up to 5,000 police will be in the area, with bomb disposal experts making a sweep before celebrations begin.


Around one million people are expected to converge on New York City’s Times Square for the annual celebration. The party begins with musical acts, including Luke Bryan, Charlie Puth, Demi Lovato and Carrie Underwood, and ends with fireworks and the descent of a glittering crystal ball from a rooftop flagpole.

This year’s festivities will also be attended by nearly 6,000 New York City police officers, including members of a new specialised counterterrorism unit.


In Kenya, which has been repeatedly attacked by Somalia-based fighters, police are urging vigilance as people prepare to celebrate New Year’s Day, on the eve of which many Kenyans gather in hotels to watch midnight firework displays.

Unauthorised celebratory fireworks are a safety hazard “in view of the elevated threat of terrorism”, police warned in a statement.

“Kenyans should remain vigilant at all times and know that we are facing a real terror threat since the split of al-Shabab into two groups, one supporting al-Qaeda and another Islamic State,” Joseph Boinnet, the inspector general of police, told the AP news agency.

“We are facing a real terror threat because these two groups are struggling to outsmart each other. This therefore is not a time to drop our guard, particularly during this festive season.” Al Jazeera

Share this article
WhatsApp WhatsApp us
Wait a sec, saving restore vars.