The beat goes on: Fire­works, smoke and tear gas start new decade

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

New York, US - New York dropped its tra­di­tional crys­ta­l­en­crusted ball to ring in 2020 in a packed Times Square, af­ter cri­sis-marred cel­e­bra­tions in other coun­tries ended a year of world­wide up­heaval that saw strike-hit Paris wel­come the new decade with fire­works, and Lon­don’s Big Ben ring out af­ter a long restora­tion.

Bil­lions around the world cheered in 2020 af­ter a tu­mul­tuous year dom­i­nated by demon­stra­tions call­ing for po­lit­i­cal re­volt and ac­tion on cli­mate change.

“I’m not par­tic­u­larly op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture,” 29 year old Natalie Rein­hart told AFP ahead of New York’s mid­night cel­e­bra­tion. “I don’t think any­body thinks the world is in a good place, and I think that’s one of the defin­ing things of the decade,” the New Yorker said.

“There’s a sort of overt pes­simism. Even our pop songs are sad.”

Per­form­ers in Times Square pulled through none­the­less, as artists in­clud­ing fem­i­nist rocker Ala­nis Moris­sette took the stage ahead of a highly an­tic­i­pated per­for­mance by K-pop sensation BTS.

New Yorker Gabriel Ro­driguez (53) voiced gloom over so­ci­ety’s fu­ture but told AFP his way of cop­ing: “I live day by day.”

‘New Year with Dig­nity

Chile saw thou­sands of demon­stra­tors gather at San­ti­ago’s Plaza Italia - the epi­cen­ter of protests against Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Pin­era’s rightwing gov­ern­ment since Oc­to­ber - to cel­e­brate a ‘New Year with Dig­nity’.

One of the world’s big­gest New Year fes­ti­vals took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with an es­ti­mated three mil­lion revel­ers.

Most of them wore white as they lis­tened to con­certs and watched a tra­di­tional fire­works show at Copaca­bana Beach.

In the French cap­i­tal, tens of thou­sands gath­ered on the Champs-El­y­sees, de­spite a gru­el­ing trans­port strike that has spelled weeks of mis­ery for com­muters.

They came on foot, by bike, taxi - and a few by Metro - to ring in the new decade as a daz­zling light show lit up the Arc de Tri­om­phe.

In the Bri­tish cap­i­tal, thou­sands of rev­ellers lined the Thames to watch fire­works fired from the Lon­don Eye for the last new year be­fore Brexit.

Big Ben rang out 12 times af­ter the bell had fallen mostly silent in 2019 be­cause of ren­o­va­tion work.

It fol­lowed a year of po­lit­i­cal wran­gling that led to the res­ig­na­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and cul­mi­nated in Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son's pledg­ing to leave the European Union on Jan­uary 31.

As US-Iran ten­sions rose again in the Mid­dle East, fire­works ex­ploded in Dubai around the Burj Khal­ifa, the world’s tallest build­ing.

In Abid­jan, Ivory Coast, py­rotech­nics re­flected off the wa­ters of the Ebrie la­goon.

Smoke-choked Syd­ney ush­ered in the New Year with an enor­mous fire­works dis­play, de­spite a pe­ti­tion to can­cel it that re­ceived more than 280,000 sig­na­tures as dev­as­tat­ing bush­fires raged across the coun­try.

But the show did go on: More than 100,000 fire­works lit up the sky­line for the hun­dreds of thou­sands of spec­ta­tors throng­ing the city cen­tre.

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