Fireworks, beefed up security and violence mark the end of a difficult year as the world welcomes 2017

While Hong Kong celebrated in the usual fashion, the night passed quietly on the mainland

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 January, 2017, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 January, 2017, 12:27am

Revellers around the world celebrated the start of 2017 yesterday, a welcome respite after a year of economic and political turmoil, terrorist violence and social ­upheaval.

Hong Kong was in full holiday mode, with no shortage of events after the previous night’s traditional fireworks display and partying to mark the end of 2016.

By contrast, across the border on the mainland, New Year’s Eve passed relatively quietly amid a security clampdown in Beijing and Shanghai.

Colourful dragon dance parade and harbour swim kick off 2017 events in Hong Kong

The Bund waterfront in Shanghai saw no celebrations, and fireworks were banned in the city centre. The precautions were taken in the wake of the waterfront stampede the previous year that left 30 people dead as 300,000 gathered to watch a planned light show.

While celebrations in Turkey were marred by a massacre at an Istanbul nightclub, revelry went hand in hand with beefed-up ­security in European capitals ­including Berlin, Brussels, Paris and London.

The British capital enjoyed a stunning fireworks display over the River Thames immediately after the midnight chimes of Big Ben. But the mood was affected by Queen Elizabeth’s health as Buckingham Palace ­announced she would not be attending a New Year’s Day church service because of a “lingering heavy cold”. The monarch, 90, also missed a Christmas Day service.

Watch: Fireworks light up the world’s iconic city skylines

A similarly breathtaking display was staged across the English Channel at the Eiffel Tower in ­Paris, where visitors were also treated to a laser display from the nearby Arc de Triomphe.

In Berlin, the festive mood was interrupted by the actions of one reveller at a large open-air party, who was arrested after reports that he shouted a bomb warning. The city is still recovering from a terror attack on December 19 in which a truck driver mowed down and killed 12 people and injured 56 others at a Christmas market in Breitscheidplatz.

The mood was brighter in Brussels, which also suffered a major terrorist attack on March 22 that killed 32 people and left 300 injured.

Born at the stroke of midnight, Hong Kong’s first baby of 2017 followed by three others within an hour

In the US, the streets around New York’s Times Square were blocked off with 20-tonne sanitation trucks weighted with an extra 15 tonnes of sand to prevent the kinds of terror truck attacks seen in France and Germany this year.

More than a million people joined the Times Square celebrations, as the glittering crystal ball dropped.

The event was peaceful but gig headliner Mariah Carey ran into technical difficulties during her lip-synching performance of her hit single We Belong Together, prompting ridicule online.

Additional reporting by Associated Press