Brussels, Belgium traditionally puts on a spectacular fireworks display to ring in the new year, but this year there will be no such celebration. The terror threat in the nation and in the city in particular, where several conspirators in the Paris attacks were tracked, has caused officials to cancel the event altogether.
Cities around the globe are tightening already high security for the big night, but in Belgium the threat, and the stakes, are just too high.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision had been taken “given information we have received”. Earlier in the week, police arrested two people suspected of planning attacks during the festive season.
Belgium has been on high alert since the terror attacks of 13 November in Paris. Several of the perpetrators are thought to have been based in Belgium.
Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur told state broadcaster RTBF: “Together with the interior minister, we’ve decided to not have the celebrations on Thursday evening.”
City officials simply do not have the capacity to “check everyone”, said the mayor. The event is major, with over 100,000 in attendance last year.
Brussels is not alone. Paris, too, has canceled a fireworks display, although people will still be gathering to celebrate along the Champ Elysees as they do each year, albeit under a much greater security presence.
Below is a video from the 2012 fireworks display as seen from the Grand Place in Brussels.