Sydney is ushering in 2017 with its renowned fireworks extravaganza over the city’s iconic harbour.
But like other countries around the world welcoming the New Year, the celebrations in Australia are being held amid heightened security in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Berlin and Nice.
The South Pacific island nations of Tonga and Samoa were among the first places in the world to see in the New Year with fireworks at 10am UK time.
Auckland in New Zealand started its New Year party an hour later, with a countdown at the city’s Sky Tower followed by a firework and laser show.
Around 1.5 million people were expected to watch Sydney’s fireworks spectacular, involving seven tonnes of pyrotechnics.
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There had been an earlier display held for families with young children.
An extra 2,000 police officers have been drafted in to the city while buses will be used to close off some pedestrian areas amid fears about a repeat of this year’s extremist atrocities in France and Germany.
In Berlin, where 12 people were killed when a hijacked lorry was driven into a busy Christmas market, barriers have been installed around the landmark Brandenburg Gate to protect revellers.
Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said: “Every measure is being taken to prevent a possible attack.”
Security has also been ramped up in Cologne in a move to prevent a repeat of last year’s trouble, when police failed to failed to prevent a string of robberies and sexual assaults blamed largely on foreign men.
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In Paris, where terror attacks claimed the lives of 130 people last November, heavily armed soldiers are patrolling popular tourist destinations, including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre museum.
Some 600,000 people are expected to watch the firework display on the Champs-Elysees, where security searches will be carried out.
French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said: “We must remain vigilant at all times, and we are asking citizens to also be vigilant.”
In Milan, where police shot dead the Berlin truck attacker, security checks have been set up around the main square, while lorries have been banned from the centre of Rome and Naples.
Madrid is deploying an extra 1,600 police and also controlling access to the city’s central Puerta del Sol square.
In New York’s Times Square, where the famed glitter ball is due to descend at 5am UK time on 1 January, dozens of 20-ton refuse lorries weighted with an extra 15 tons of sand will block the streets around the celebrations, while there will be about 7,000 police officers on patrol.
The US security crackdown is not just confined to New York. In Las Vegas FBI and Secret Service agents are working alongside local police departments in order to keep safe more than 300,000 expected visitors for the extravagant celebrations.
In the Indian capital New Delhi and many other of the country’s cities, security has been tightened around shopping centres and restaurants.
Here are the UK times of New Year around the world:
:: 10am – Tonga and Samoa
:: 11am – Auckland
:: 1pm – Sydney
:: 3pm – Tokyo
:: 3.30pm – Pyongyang
:: 4pm – Hong Kong
:: 9pm – Moscow
:: 11pm- Berlin/Paris
Source : Sky News