Security stepped up in major cities for New Year's Eve parties

A police officer providing information to visitors at the Opera House in Sydney yesterday. One million revellers are expected in the city for the countdown festivities. Members of an Indonesian anti-terror police unit taking part in a drill at the Na
Members of an Indonesian anti-terror police unit taking part in a drill at the National Monument in Jakarta on Dec 21. Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy, has deployed 180,000 security personnel for the Christmas and New Year holidays.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
A police officer providing information to visitors at the Opera House in Sydney yesterday. One million revellers are expected in the city for the countdown festivities. Members of an Indonesian anti-terror police unit taking part in a drill at the Na
A police officer providing information to visitors at the Opera House in Sydney yesterday. One million revellers are expected in the city for the countdown festivities.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A police officer providing information to visitors at the Opera House in Sydney yesterday. One million revellers are expected in the city for the countdown festivities. Members of an Indonesian anti-terror police unit taking part in a drill at the Na
A New York Police Department's Counterterrorism Bureau trooper on security patrol in Times Square on Friday. Two million people are expected to flood the iconic square for its "ball drop" celebration.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Security measures have been stepped up in major cities around the world as revellers flock to countdown parties to ring in the new year tonight.

One year after a deadly attack at a nightclub by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed 39 lives, Istanbul will deploy over 40,000 security personnel on New Year's Eve, Agence France-Presse reported. Celebrations in the Turkish city are expected to be low-key this year, with several popular areas forbidding public events.

In the United States, where two million tourists and revellers are expected to flood New York's Times Square for its "ball drop" celebration, party-goers will have to bear with extensive checks.

New York Times (NYTimes) reported that party-goers will have to go through a magnetometer to check for weapons, amid explosive-detecting dogs and heavily armed officers.

Policemen have received specialised training to stop any suicide bombers while rooftop observation teams trained to spot snipers will also be deployed into more buildings. The measures follow two recent attacks in the city, including an aborted bombing in a subway tunnel on Dec 11.

Less than three months after a 64-year-old American opened fire at concert-goers in Las Vegas from his 32nd-floor hotel room, the city will be hosting its first New Year's Eve parties.

Homeland Security officials have classified the night as a top safety priority after the massacre which killed 58. They will be deploying snipers on hotel rooftops as well as helicopters with tactical security forces. About 330,000 visitors are expected on the Strip for New Year's Eve, NYTimes reported.

 
 

Festive sites in Europe will also be heavily fortified, with France deploying 139,400 security personnel across the country amid the peak holiday season, Xinhua reported.

In London, which was rocked by four major terrorist incidents this year, armed police will patrol the streets on New Year's Eve, along with covert officers and dog units, The Guardian reported.

In Germany, officials are setting up roadblocks and safety zones for women to ensure that festivities across the country remain safe. The move comes after hundreds of women who were ringing in 2016 in the city of Cologne were assaulted and robbed by groups of mostly young men.

Security has also been boosted in Australia's two largest cities. Dozens of officers armed with semi-automatic rifles and riot squad officers will be on duty in Sydney, where one million revellers are expected, the Australian Associated Press said. In Melbourne, where one person was killed and several injured on Dec 21 after an Australian man used his car to run down pedestrians, the city centre will be on lockdown. Extra bollards will also be placed to protect party-goers, Xinhua reported.

Asian authorities are also taking precautions. Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy, has deployed 180,000 security personnel for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

In the Thai capital of Bangkok, more than 20,000 police, soldiers and volunteers will take part in security operations for the countdown celebrations, The Nation reported.

And in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, police have stepped up security and put up roadblocks in several hot spots such as the popular Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the Dataran Merdeka, The Star reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 31, 2017, with the headline 'Security stepped up in major cities for New Year's Eve parties'. Print Edition | Subscribe