2016 is likely to begin on a low note in many parts of the world as festivities are expected to remain subdued or have altogether been called off as terror threats creep into major cities.
Recently, the police across several cities have foiled New Year terror plots and have warned of more threats. Earlier this week, the Belgian Police arrested two people for plotting to carry out terror strikes at symbolic locations in Brussels on 31 December, while Turkey arrested two Isis suspects in Ankara who had prepared to bomb during New Year celebrations.
Terror threats in New Delhi on New Year's Eve have also prompted heightened security in the Indian capital. READ: New Year terror threats: Cities on alert in Europe, US, India and Russia
Following the 13 November Paris attacks, many countries have raised their alert levels, with authorities carrying out raids and busting terror cells in France, Belgium, Australia, Indonesia and several other nations in the last month.
However, some cities will continue with their tradition of spectacular fireworks and festivities, including Sydney and Dubai.
Here's what New Year celebrations will look like in several cities on Thursday night -
- Sydney: Sydney will continue with its tradition of putting up spectacular fireworks display on New Year's Eve. More than a million people are expected to gather at Sydney Harbour to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks on Thursday, local media have said.
The celebrations, themed 'City of Color', will be Sydney's biggest fireworks display so far and will also feature a 'Aboriginal Welcome to Country' ceremony for the first time.ALSO READ: Happy New Year 2016: Interesting facts and picture messages to send to your loved ones
- Shanghai: The Chinese city has cancelled all major New Year celebrations after a deadly stampede during year-end celebrations at the historic riverfront last year. 36 people had been killed after a stampede broke out on 31 December last year as more than one lakh people gathered at the Bund Origin area for the popular light show.
- Mumbai: Citing terror threats, the Mumbai Police have banned private New Year boat parties along the city's famous coastline. Authorities will set up a three-tier security system comprising the Navy at the naval boundary, the Coast Guard off Mumbai's coast and Marine Police at the coastline, Zee News reported. The 26/11 terror attack in 2008 had seen terrorists enter the city in boats.
- Moscow: For the first time, Russia will keep the popular Red Square in Moscow closed to revellers on New Year's Eve. While the Russian authorities have cited the the filming of a live concert for a state-run channel for keeping the venue closed, critics have accused the administration of trying to cover up terror threats.
Some Russians called the closure of Red Square on 31 December "the same as closing off Times Square in New York."
- Brussels: Belgium cancelled New Year festivities in the capital over fears of a terror attack. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision was necessary "given information received". Last year, 100,000 people had celebrated the turn of the year.
- Paris: The New Year fireworks display has been called off in the city that saw two major terror attacks this year. Revellers will instead be shown a video of the fireworks displayed on the Arc de Triomphe. While the traditional gathering at the Champs Elysees will be held, authorities are expecting fewer tourists this New Year's Eve, according to The Guardian. "We have decided to mark the New Year in a reflective manner and without fanfare," Mayor Anne Hidalgo told BBC.
- London: With about one lakh people expected to attend the mayor of London's fireworks display, 3,000 Metropolitan police officers will be on duty, while there will also be an increased number of firearms officers. Despite the scare of terror threat in Europe, locals and visitors in London are being urged to come out to watch the fireworks, The Guardian reported.ALSO READ: Happy New Year 2016: Top 20 quotes, messages, wishes, greetings, sayings to share with friends and family
- New York: As many as 6,000 New York City policemen, including roof-top snipers, will keep watch at Times Square as the ball drops at midnight, in the biggest such deployment at the popular venue ever. Security officials had earlier briefed US President Barack Obama of New Year terror threats in New York, Los Angeles and Washington.