Europe celebrates New Year amid heightened security

Europe celebrates New Year amid heightened security
Europe celebrates New Year amid heightened security

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Europe celebrates New Year amid heightened security in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BRUSSELS — People across Europe welcomed 2024 against a backdrop of heightened security concerns.

Ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and tensions in parts of the world, have affected this year's New Year's Eve celebrations in a myriad of ways.

Many cities in Europe were deploying extra security, and some places cancelled New Year's Eve events altogether.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis recalled 2023 as a year marked by wartime suffering.

During his traditional Sunday blessing from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, he offered prayers for “the tormented Ukrainian people and the Palestinian and Israeli populations, the Sudanese people and many others.”

“At the end of the year, we will have the courage to ask ourselves how many human lives have been shattered by armed conflict, how many dead and how much destruction, how much suffering, how much poverty," the pontiff said.

“Whoever has interest in these conflicts, listen to the voice of conscience.”

Some 90,000 police and security officers were deployed around France including along Champs-Elysees Avenue, where large crowds took in a multidimensional light show projected onto the Arc de Triomphe showcasing the history of Paris and sports on the menu for next year’s Summer Olympics in the city.

New Year’s Eve celebrations in the French capital centred on the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, including DJ sets, fireworks and video projections on the Arc de Triomphe.

Other planned events included “the largest Mexican wave ever performed” and a “giant karaoke.”

In Berlin, some 4,500 police officers are expected to keep order and avoid riots like a year ago.

Police in the German capital issued a ban on the traditional use of firecrackers for several streets across the city.

They also banned a pro-Palestinian protest in the Neukoelln neighbourhood of the city, which has seen several demonstrations since the 7 October attack by Hamas.

In Russia, the country’s military actions in Ukraine overshadowed NYE celebrations, with the usual fireworks and concert on Moscow’s Red Square canceled, as they were last year.

Even without the festivities, people gathered in the square, and some cheered and pointed their phones at a clock counting down the year’s final seconds.

After shelling in the centre of the Russian border city of Belgorod on Saturday killed 24 people, some local authorities across Russia also cancelled their usual firework displays, including in Vladivostok.

Millions were expected to tune in to President Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s prerecorded address, in which he said no force could divide Russians and stop the country’s development.

Sydney and Auckland were the world's first major cities to ring in 2024, with more than a million revellers cheering spectacular fireworks displays that lit up the skies over Sydney Harbor and New Zealand’s tallest structure, Sky Tower.

“It’s total madness,” said German tourist Janna Thomas, who had waited in line since 7:30 a.m. to secure a prime waterfront location in the Sydney Botanic Garden. “It’s not so easy to find a good place to sit, but the view is incredible.” — Euronews

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