Australia rang in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display in Sydney, sending rainbow-coloured showers into the night sky and defying the global terror attacks that cast a pall over 2016.
Around 1.5 million people packed Australia’s biggest city to watch as the midnight fireworks erupted from Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the extravaganza beamed to television sets and phones across the world.
Japan also ushered in 2017 in style, with thousands packing the streets of Tokyo and releasing balloons into the air in celebration of the new year.
Sydney’s visual feast paid tribute to some of the international musical legends who died this year, including David Bowie and Prince, with purple rain pouring off the bridge in an early display and firework “stars” soaring high above the harbour.
2016 has seen repeated bloodshed, most recently a deadly truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market, a similar incident on Bastille Day in France that killed 86 people, and atrocities in Turkey and the Middle East.
But the New South Wales state premier urged “business as usual” as a larger-than-usual crowd gathered due to the weekend timing and warm weather.
“My encouragement to everyone is to enjoy New Year’s Eve… in the knowledge that police are doing everything they can to keep us safe,” Premier Mike Baird said.