World News

Revelers around the globe ring in 2018 amid heightened security

Posted December 31, 2017 3:29 p.m. EST

— Throngs of revelers packed cities around the globe to usher in 2018 with public celebrations and fireworks, despite fears of terrorism and frigid weather in some places.

More than a million people lined the harbor in Sydney, Australia, to watch a 12-minute fireworks show over the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Across Asia, people crowded into waterside viewing areas to see fireworks burst over Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and other cities.

In Moscow, revelers filled special New Year's subway trains decorated with winter scenes. And Pope Francis led his annual Te Deum prayer at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

After a year marred by mass shootings and deadly terror attacks, many celebrations unfolded amid heightened security.

In New York, where hundreds of thousands of people pack Times Square each December 31, Gov. Andrew Cuomo added additional security measures, including extra checkpoints, police dogs, street closures and undercover officers, according to WABC, a CNN affiliate.

"You will see a stronger police presence out there than we've seen, even than what we've seen in recent years. And that's prudent, given the terror events we have seen and studied around the world as well as the three incidents here in New York over the past 15 months," said NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill.

And in Las Vegas, where a gunman killed 58 people at a music festival in October, officials installed extra security -- including National Guard officers and snipers on rooftops -- along the famed Las Vegas Strip.

As of midnight Sunday in eastern Europe, there had been no major incidents. But European cities also took security precautions. Almost a year after a gunman opened fire on 2017 New Year's revelers in an Istanbul nightclub, Turkish police raided a suspected ISIS cell this week to help thwart potential attacks during the holidays.

After a spate of sexual assaults marred New Year's Eve events in several German cities in 2015, officials in Berlin this year set up a special "safe zone" for women who feel harassed. Berlin, Cologne and other German cities also added hundreds of extra police.

And in Paris, 1,850 police officers were assigned to the Champs-Elysées amid a "double perimeter of security," Interior Minister Gérard Collomb told BFMTV.

Across North America, New Year's celebrants grappled with record low temperatures, as the holiday was expected to be 20 to 40 degrees colder than usual in many places. Of the lower 48 US states, only 10 aren't under a wind-chill alert.