Fireworks displays lit up cities across the world Tuesday as people marked the beginning of 2019.
Tens of thousands of people packed New York City’s Times Square where the traditional ball drop took on extra meaning this year in recognizing journalism and free speech.
In another first, New York police used a drone to monitor the crowds. The camera-carrying drone was be added to the arsenal of more than 1,200 fixed video cameras that will be deployed by police.
In Paris, revelers gathered on the Champs-Elysees to watch fireworks, as well as a light show above the Arc de Triomphe, despite continuing antigovernment protests.
In a televised address, French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged Monday the French government “can do better” to help people economically.
In Berlin, residents and tourists enjoyed a huge open-air concert at the Brandenburg Gate with fireworks set off at midnight.
Londoners heard the familiar chime of Big Ben at midnight, even though the famous clock is undergoing renovations and has been disconnected. A specially built electric mechanism was used to power the clock’s hammer. Revelers in London also watched fireworks over the River Thames.
Russia ushered in the New Year over several time zones, having started in far eastern Kamchatka.
Fireworks were set off over Moscow’s Red Square, and concerts and light shows were held across the city’s parks. More than 1,000 ice rinks were also opened in the Russian capital for celebrators.
Revelers in Dubai saw fireworks and a colorful light show at the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. Elsewhere in the United Arab Emirates, a fireworks display in Ras al-Khaimah reaching nearly 12 kilometers attempted to set a new Guinness World Record.
Australia, New Zealand, and surrounding Pacific Island nations were among the first countries to ring in 2019 with fireworks and other celebrations.
Monday evening thunderstorms threatened the fireworks show in Sydney, but an estimated 1 million people gathered around various points in Australia’s largest city to witness the annual show.
Over 400 couples in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta rang in the New Year by participating in a mass wedding ceremony amid tight security.
Thousands of spectators gathered in the South Korean capital of Seoul for a laser show, as well as a fireworks display at the city’s COEX Mall, as a traditional bell-tolling ceremony rang in 2019 at City Hall.
In Japan, many locals went to temples to celebrate the New Year, while others attended an exhibition match between retired U.S. boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather and Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa — a multimillion dollar fight outside of Tokyo that Mayweather said “was all about entertainment.”
The United Nations issued a somber warning to the world of continued threats of climate change, growing intolerance, geopolitical divisions and inequality, but also expressed “reasons for hope.” (VOA)