Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid calls for a sombre tone on New Year's Eve as a token of solidarity with Palestinians.
Dubai ruler cancels New Year festivities
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the cancellation of all New Year celebrations in Dubai in support of the people of Gaza. In a statement issued by the state news agency, WAM, late tonight, Sheikh Mohammed told authorities to take the necessary steps to ensure the cancellation of planned events and "all forms of celebrations marking the New Year". According to Sheikh Mohammed's order, Dubai will observe the New Year with a sombre tone as a token of solidarity with the Palestinian people in general and the Gaza Strip, which is under military attack from Israel, in particular. Organisers of events in Dubai were not clear about how the order would affect planned parties in hotels and restaurants, or whether public firework displays would be cancelled. Dave Cattanach of Dubai's Aviation Club, home of the New Year's Eve haunt the Cellar in the Irish Village, said: "We are just trying to work out what the situation is. I can't say any more at this time." A spokesman for the Jumeirah Group said its member hotels had not received any official communication and so could not comment. The organisers of Abu Dhabi's La Rumba party in the grounds of the Emirates Palace hotel said they had not been advised of any similar order in the capital. Promoters who had flown in the Latin singer Shakira to sing at the event said late last night that "as far as we know there's no cancellation". Ram Nath, promoter for a concert by DJ Axwell at Dubai World Trade Centre, said they were looking into the situation, but if the directive affects them they would move the event to Al Maya island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. * The National