- Title: Brussels heightens security ahead of New Year's celebrations
- Date: 30th December 2016
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 30, 2016) (REUTERS) ROW OF CONCRETE PLANTERS COVERED WITH WOOD PANELS ON PLACE DE LA BOURSE, WHERE SOME NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING PAST CONCRETE PLANTERS COVERED WITH WOOD PANELS SECURITY BARRIERS VARIOUS OF MILITARY TRUCKS PARKED NEAR STAGE FOR NEW YEAR'S EVENTS MILITARY PERSONNEL ON BALCONY ABOVE BOULEVARD MILITARY PERSONNEL PATROLLING VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICERS WALKING IN STREET BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 29, 2016) (REUTERS) ORGANISER OF BRUSSELS' NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATIONS, OLIVIER MEES, TALKING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF BRUSSELS MAJOR EVENTS COMPANY, OLIVIER MEES, SAYING: "Obviously the police forces will be there in numbers and, as other European capitals do for the same type of events, we will work with a system of 'blocks' let's say. When one block is full, it will be closed to the public to avoid having too many people in the same place." PEOPLE WALKING NEAR CHRISTMAS MARKET STALLS BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 30, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM JAPAN, SAKIN, SAYING: "We shouldn't be so afraid of terrorists because they want to make us afraid, so I try to be as usual." SANTA CLAUS DECORATION (SOUNDBITE) (French) SWISS TOURISTS FROM VALAIS REGION, GAELLE (RIGHT) AND KARINE (LEFT), SAYING: GAELLE (RIGHT): "I think about, I don't what about you." KARINE (LEFT): "No, maybe just a bit at the airport because there has been an attack at the Brussels airport, but apart from that I think it is pretty pleasant here, at least in the city centre, so I don't think about it too much." DEER DECORATIONS AT CHRISTMAS MARKET (SOUNDBITE) (French) UNIDENTIFIED BRUSSELS RESIDENT, SAYING: "I have the feeling that the atmosphere has got a little bit cooler compared to previous years after the events that hit us at the beginning of the year. I think there are a bit less people in the streets and it's less festive." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT CHRISTMAS MARKET ON PLACE DE LA BOURSE
- Embargoed: 14th January 2017 15:19
- Keywords: New Year celebration Brussels attacks security
- Location: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- City: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,International/National Security
- Reuters ID: LVA0015F2S9C7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Brussels stepped up security in the city centre on Friday (December 30) ahead of the New Year's celebrations, erecting concrete barriers and increasing police presence following last week's Islamist attack in Berlin that killed 12 people.
The Belgian capital's mayor was reviewing whether to cancel New Year fireworks but decided this week that they would go ahead. Last year's celebrations had been called off because of fears of a militant attack, after attacks in Paris in November left 130 people dead.
Besides police and military patrols and security checks on visitors, rows of concrete planters have been erected on Place de la Bourse, where celebrations will be held, to block any vehicle from entering the area.
"Obviously the police forces will be there in numbers and, as other European capitals do for the same type of events, we will work with a system of 'blocks' let's say. When one block is full, it will be closed to the public to avoid having too many people in the same place," said Olivier Mees, director of the company in charge of organising the New Year events in Brussels.
At the Christmas market in central Brussels, some tourists said they were not going to let the risk of an attack spoil their holiday.
"We shouldn't be so afraid of terrorists because they want to make us afraid, so I try to be as usual," said Sakin, who was visiting from Japan.
One Belgian national said he felt the atmosphere in the city was less festive than in the previous years, as the country was still healing its wounds after the March attacks at the airport and a metro station that killed 32 people.
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