News / Europe

    Brussels Cancels New Year's Fete, Cites Terror Threat; Security Tight in NYC

    Belgian soldiers stand guard at Brussels' Grand Place, Dec. 30, 2015, after two people were arrested in Belgium on Sunday and Monday, both suspected of plotting an attack in Brussels on New Year's Eve, federal prosecutors said.
    Belgian soldiers stand guard at Brussels' Grand Place, Dec. 30, 2015, after two people were arrested in Belgium on Sunday and Monday, both suspected of plotting an attack in Brussels on New Year's Eve, federal prosecutors said.
    VOA News

    Brussels' mayor has canceled the Belgian capital's annual New Year's Eve celebration because of a terror threat.

    "Unfortunately, we have been forced to cancel the fireworks and all that was planned for [Thursday] evening and that would have brought a lot of people together in the center of Brussels," Mayor Yvan Mayeur told Belgian broadcasters.

    The mayor said that according to a crisis center analysis, it would not be possible to screen the tens of thousands of people who were expected to turn out.

    Belgian police arrested two people earlier this week who were suspected of plotting a New Year's Eve terror attack on what officials called "emblematic" targets. Prosecutors said the threat was "serious."

    Four of the Islamic extremists who killed 130 people in multiple terrorist attacks in Paris in November were from Belgium.

    FILE - Pedestrians watch confetti fall as members of the Times Square Alliance perform an "air worthiness test" for the confetti that is similar to what will be used for New Year's Eve in New York on Dec. 29, 2015.
    FILE - Pedestrians watch confetti fall as members of the Times Square Alliance perform an "air worthiness test" for the confetti that is similar to what will be used for New Year's Eve in New York on Dec. 29, 2015.

    New York security

    Meanwhile, thousands of police officers, some armed with long guns, radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs, will be guarding the massive New Year's celebration in New York City's Times Square.

    Police, the FBI, and Homeland Security officials say there are no specific credible threats to New York or any other U.S. parties.

    But they will be vigilant and proactive with celebrations coming just weeks after terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

    Authorities are also monitoring overseas communications for any threats.

    More than 1 million people plan to crowd into Times Square to welcome in 2016 Thursday night.

    New York police chief James Waters says he is very confident that "New Year's Eve in New York City will be the safest place in the world."

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    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    December 30, 2015 11:40 PM
    The ISIL terrorists brought terror to the US and Europe, and it's terrifying the Europeans, isn't it? .. that's what terrorists do, isn't it?
    In Response

    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    January 13, 2016 5:05 AM
    Crowds are just bad enough meanbill and criminals enjoy doing their activities in crowds because chances of being caught are not so great.But Terrorists are changing everything everywhere from our democratic right of association,movement,freedom of speech,dress,food and worse right to live.Something has to be done.Certainly not to be scared from doing what we must do in this life.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    December 30, 2015 11:28 PM
    I was born and raised in New York City. I know New York city. I have come to hate crowds. Any crowds. They are very dangerous places. They are soft targets for criminals and vulnerable to large loss of life and injury just from accidents. I do not like cities, any cities. I do not like suburbs. There is no reason today why America should not be spread out in vast rural areas and cities relics of the industrial past. There is no longer any need for them in America. I've lived in a rural area about an hour from NYC and I'd never go back. Peace, quiet, clean air, clean water, few traffic jams.

    NYC on New Years eve around Times Square could hardly be more dangerous. Half a million people or more crammed into a tiny area. Anything that set off a stampede could kill hundreds, even thousands. What an incredibly stupid place to be.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    December 31, 2015 11:33 AM
    meanbill, in those huge crowds all it would take is someone throwing a single hand grenade or even a fire cracker from the window of a tall building and the bang could start a stampede that would trample hundreds to death. I can't imagine why anyone would stand there usually in the freezing cold when they could be snug and warm at home or at a party watching it on TV. The US doesn't have to prove anything to anyone but if there are injuries resulting from terrorism, a lot of Americans will prove how foolish they were by going there. It's almost like a dare.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    December 31, 2015 7:39 AM
    Hey Marcus _ America has to prove to the world that they are not intimidated by terrorist threats, by having over six thousand heavily guarded police and military personal with radiation detection equipment and bomb sniffing dogs and snipers and attack helicopters standing by for the New Years celebration in Times Square NYC, to protect the celebrants from any terrorists?

    This US strategy to protect the New Year celebrants is being repeated in all major American cities? .. Proving once again, that terrorists won't change the way Americans live their lives? .. America will show the Europeans and the world on how to carry on when facing terrorist threats? .. by not cancelling major events, but go forward, and just add more security to protect the event participants? .. The (change) we Americans must live with now? .. until somebody defeats the terrorists?

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