The world celebrated the New Year on Wednesday with fireworks displays from Sydney to London, although celebrations were clouded by deadly wildfires in Australia, protests in Hong Kong and India and new nuclear tensions with North Korea.
Large crowds gathered in European capitals for spectacular fireworks displays that lit up the skies over landmarks like Big Ben in London, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Parthenon in Athens and the Kremlin in Moscow. In Australia, a million revellers thronged Sydney harbour and nearby districts to watch more than 100,000 fireworks explode above the city, even as thousands of people along the country’s eastern seaboard sought refuge from the bushfires on beaches.
Thousands in Hong Kong welcomed 2020 on neon-lit promenades in the picturesque Victoria Harbour, breaking into pro-democracy chants shortly after the countdown to midnight. In Japan, people took turns striking Buddhist temple bells, in accordance with tradition.Sydney decided to press ahead with its fireworks despite calls by some members of the public for the display to be cancelled in solidarity with fire-hit areas in New South Wales, of which the city is the capital.