Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 29 September 2020

New Year's Eve celebrations around the world - in pictures

The best of the photos as 2020 arrives and a new decade begins

Smoke-choked Sydney ushered in the New Year with a huge fireworks display, kicking off celebrations for billions around the world and ringing in the new decade.

Australia's largest city usually puts on a dazzling display of pyrotechnics over the glittering harbour, but this year there have been calls to cancel the fireworks as devastating bushfires rage across the country.

Fireworks displays were scrapped in Australia's capital, Canberra, and Sydney's western suburbs because of elevated fire danger and extreme weather conditions.

As the clock ticked past midnight, major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas embraced the celebrations.

Midnight in London was marked by the chimes of Big Ben, which has been silent during a long restoration, as traditional fireworks are set off over the Thames for the last new year before Brexit.

Thousands lined the Thames to watch fireworks explode over the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and Elizabeth Tower near Parliament.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 1: Fireworks explode over The Coca-Cola London Eye, Westminster Abbey and Elizabeth Tower near Parliament as thousands of revelers gather along the banks of the River Thames to ring in the New Year on January 1, 2019 in London, England. At the stroke of midnight, Big Ben rang in the new decade after being silent all year long for renovations. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 1: Fireworks explode over The Coca-Cola London Eye, Westminster Abbey and Elizabeth Tower near Parliament as thousands of revelers gather along the banks of the River Thames to ring in the New Year on January 1, 2019 in London, England. At the stroke of midnight, Big Ben rang in the new decade after being silent all year long for renovations. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over the Kremlin in Moscow during New Year celebrations, on January 1, 2020. / AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF
Fireworks explode over the Kremlin in Moscow during New Year celebrations, on January 1, 2020. / AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF

Fireworks exploded over the Kremlin in Moscow amid glorious scenes across the capital.

epa08096738 Fireworks above the Ortakoy mosque and 15 July Martyrs Bridge on the Bosphorus during new year's celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey, 01 January 2020. EPA/AKIN CELIKTAS
epa08096738 Fireworks above the Ortakoy mosque and 15 July Martyrs Bridge on the Bosphorus during new year's celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey, 01 January 2020. EPA/AKIN CELIKTAS

In Turkey spectacular scenes were pictured over the Ortakoy mosque.

epa08096746 A man wearing a Santa Claus costume sells dolls and hats as part of the New Year's Eve celebrations at a market in Cairo, Egypt, 31 December 2019 EPA/KHALED ELFIQI
epa08096746 A man wearing a Santa Claus costume sells dolls and hats as part of the New Year's Eve celebrations at a market in Cairo, Egypt, 31 December 2019 EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

Egypt saw a man dressed in a Santa outfit selling toys to mark the occasion.

Fireworks exploded behind the quadriga of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate.

Fireworks explode behind the quadriga of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to usher in the New Year on January 1, 2020. ALTERNATIVE CROP / AFP / Tobias SCHWARZ / ALTERNATIVE CROP
Fireworks explode behind the quadriga of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to usher in the New Year on January 1, 2020. ALTERNATIVE CROP / AFP / Tobias SCHWARZ / ALTERNATIVE CROP

In Greece, fireworks erupted over the ancient temple of the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis hill.

Fireworks explode over the ancient temple of the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis hill as part of Greece's celebrations for the New Year in Athens on January 1, 2020. / AFP / Ioanna KRITIKOU
Fireworks explode over the ancient temple of the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis hill as part of Greece's celebrations for the New Year in Athens on January 1, 2020. / AFP / Ioanna KRITIKOU

People took pictures of the fireworks erupting in the sky over the Arc de Triomphe during the New Year's celebrations on the Champs Elysees avenue, in Paris.

People take pictures of the fireworks erupting in the sky over the Arc de Triomphe during the New Year's celebrations on the Champs Elysees avenue, in Paris, on December 31, 2019. / AFP / Martin BUREAU
People take pictures of the fireworks erupting in the sky over the Arc de Triomphe during the New Year's celebrations on the Champs Elysees avenue, in Paris, on December 31, 2019. / AFP / Martin BUREAU

But in some places the festivities were marked by turmoil and political upheaval.

After more than six months of near-daily demonstrations, Hong Kong police fired tear gas a few minutes into 2020 as protesters marked the New Year with midnight countdown rallies and a massive march planned for January 1.

Before midnight on Tuesday, thousands gathered across the financial centre, including along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour and at nightlife hotspot Lan Kwai Fong.

Protesters at the harbour-front counted down, chanting "Ten, nine, liberate Hong Kong, revolution now," as they used their phones to form a sea of lights.

Smaller crowds of protesters in the Mong Kok district set fire to barricades, before riot police unleashed 2020's first volleys of tear gas in response.

In Paris, 250,000 to 300,000 people usually gather on the Champs-Elysees to welcome the New Year, but this year the turnout was marred by a transport strike that has spelt weeks of misery for commuters.

Updated: January 1, 2020 04:35 AM

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