2020: Entire world rings in New Calendar year amid wildfires, protests – Al Jazeera English

The New Year – and fresh 10 years – was welcomed in throughout the planet with fireworks, dancing and champagne, but Australia‘s celebrations have been overshadowed by lethal wildfires whilst protests dampened the festive temper in Hong Kong and India.

New Zealanders had been between the first to welcome 2020 on Wednesday, with fireworks lighting up the sky more than the capital, Auckland.

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Large crowds thronged Sydney harbour to view Australia’s famed New Year’s Eve fireworks, even as smoke from wildfires turned the evening sky in nearby towns blood pink.

Many towns together the country’s eastern coast cancelled their fireworks as hundreds of people today swarmed to beach locations to escape the fires.

Hong Kong’s authorities also cancelled its well known New Year’s Eve fireworks in Victoria Harbour owing to protection problems as protesters staged extra rallies in opposition to what they see as an erosion of democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. 

Individuals in India also welcomed the New Yr with protests, angered by a citizenship legislation they say will discriminate versus Muslims and chip away at the country’s secular structure.

Australia in flames

Sydney pressed in advance with its fireworks display inspite of some calls to cancel the celebrations in solidarity with fireplace-strike parts in New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital.

Australia fires

As revellers relished the fireworks in Sydney, other components of New South Wales have been battling wildfires [Saeed Khan/AFP]

Some tourists trapped in Australia’s coastal cities posted photos of blood-crimson, smoke-loaded skies on social media, although just one beachfront image showed people today lying shoulder-to-shoulder on the sand, some donning fuel masks.

The fires have unfold across 4 states, with fronts stretching hundreds of kilometres in some scenarios. Wildfires have killed at least 11 people today considering the fact that October and left numerous cities and rural locations without the need of energy and cell coverage.

Protests rage on in India and Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, rocked by months of demonstrations, protesters wore masks to cope with tear gas at a rally termed “Will not overlook 2019 – Persist in 2020” on Tuesday night, according to social media posts.

“My New 12 months desire is this motion can conclusion quickly but not because we dropped the fight, [but] simply because we acquire the combat,” claimed Kong, a 40-yr-outdated clerk who joined a little lunchtime protest in the central financial district.

Authorities deployed six,000 law enforcement officers as Main Govt Carrie Lam appealed for quiet and reconciliation in her New Year’s Eve video clip message.

The protests started in June in reaction to a now-withdrawn monthly bill that would have allowed suspected criminals to be extradited to mainland China for demo, but demonstrations have considering that morphed into a broader pro-democracy movement.

India NYE

India has convulsed with protests over a controversial citizenship invoice [Amit Dave/Reuters]

India has also been gripped by weeks of protests in excess of laws introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s authorities to make it much easier for non-Muslim minorities in neighbouring Muslim-bulk countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, to attain Indian citizenship.

Protesters held demonstrations on Tuesday in Mumbai, the financial capital, and other cities including the capital New Delhi, now in the grip of its second-coldest wintertime in much more than a century.

First NYE of Japan’s new era

The mood was calmer in Japan wherever folks flocked to temples and shrines, supplying incense and their prayers to rejoice the enthusiasm of the year and the very first New Year’s of the Reiwa period.

Underneath Japan’s previous-model calendar, connected to emperors’ procedures, Reiwa started out in May well, following Emperor Akihito stepped down and his son, Naruhito, grew to become emperor.

Even though Reiwa is moving into its next calendar year with 2020, January 1 still marks the era’s initial New Year – the most critical holiday break in Japan.

South Korea NYE

Writing a want for the New Yr on a paper notice is a tradition in South Korea [Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo]

“We have a new era, so I am hoping things will be far better, whilst 2019 was also a very good yr simply because very little lousy happened,” Masashi Ogami, who ran a sweet rice wine stall at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, mentioned.

The 1st yr of the new ten years will see Tokyo host the 2020 Olympics.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, thousands crammed the streets of central Seoul in advance of a traditional bell-tolling ceremony near the capital’s Town Corridor and hung paper notes with their wishes for the new 12 months exterior Buddhist temples.

However, the yearly tolling of the “peace bell” at Imjingak, near the border with North Korea was cancelled thanks to quarantine measures following an outbreak of African swine fever.

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