In the light of recent terror attacks, extra security measures have been put into place across Europe as cities gear up to celebrate the start of 2016.
Mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, explained why the Belgian capital’s traditional fireworks display has been cancelled.
“It’s the mass gathering aspect of it,” he said. “Such a huge number of people. Last year a hundred thousand people cane together, and under these circumstances we have no way of guaranteeing we can check every single person who comes to the event. But that’s not to say the city will grind to a halt. On the contrary, we need to allow the citizens of Brussels to get on with their new year celebrations in the right circumstances.”
The decision follows the arrest of eight people, who are suspected of planning an attack during the celebrations.
Six of them were detained during house searches on Thursday (December 31).
It is understood the two people arrested on Wednesday (December 30) belong to a motorbike club called the Kamikaze Riders.
The midnight fireworks display in Paris has also been cancelled, although other festivities are still scheduled to go ahead, albeit under heightened security.
With the November attacks still fresh in peoples’ minds, close to 11,000 emergency services staff, armed forces and security guards are being deployed in and around the capital.
Some 60,000 police officers will be on duty across France during the evening.
London, United Kingdom
In London, the regular number of police officers working on New Year’s Eve has actually decreased this year. However, the number of firearms officers has been stepped up, according to the Metropolitan police.
Around 3,000 officers will be working across the centre of the British capital, as opposed to the 4,200 working last year.
The Met did not confirm how many firearms officers would be working, but said the number had been increased.
For the first time at new year, Moscow’s Red Square has been blocked off to the public.
Authorities say it is to allow preparations to be made for filming a concert. However, the film company concerned reportedly denied it would be working there this evening, raising questions over the exact cause of the closure.
More than 1,500 police officers are being mobilised in the Italian capital. They will be carrying metal detectors, predominantly to screen attendees heading into a concert at the Circus Maximus.
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