New Year's Eve revellers encouraged to be 'alert' at public celebrations

As major cities around the world ramp up security ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, Canada’s public safety minister is urging revellers to be “alert and aware” as they ring in 2016 but added that there is no new information to change the nation’s risk assessment.

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Following the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, fears of copycat violence are prompting bigger police patrols at some of the world’s largest New Year’s celebrations.

And while Toronto is planning to add extra security to public celebrations in its downtown core, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement to CTV News that Canadian authorities “have no new information that would cause Canada to consider any change in our existing risk assessment.

“But that being said, our security and police authorities are always vigilant and will take all possible steps to keep Canadians safe.”

Many cities are increasing their security patrols ahead of the big party.

Authorities in Brussels say they are not cancelling their New Year’s Eve fireworks show, but would increase security at public celebrations after they foiled a terror plot set to be carried out in the Belgian capital on New Year’s Eve.

Two suspects accused of planning attacks on well-known locations were arrested. Officers seized military clothing and ISIS propaganda but found no weapons.

Much of the Belgian capital is on high alert since the co-ordinated terrorist attacks across Paris in November that left 130 dead, and hundreds injured. The mastermind of the attacks is from Belgium.

In France, which is still reeling from terror attacks, the defence minister visited the troops ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, and stressed the need for “special vigilance, full mobilization and a very significant presence” of security forces.

The city of Paris has cancelled its fireworks show and instead will project a video show on the Arc de Triomphe that will be played on big screens on the Champs Elysee avenue.

In Toronto, added security will watch over celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square, even though there is no specific threat.

In New York City, 500 counterterrorism officers will blend into the massive crowd expected to watch the New Year’s ball drop in Times Square.

There is no specific threat in London, U.K. either, but out of an abundance of caution, police are expected to double the number of officers on patrol for New Year’s Eve.

In Las Vegas, where 332,000 are expected to watch fireworks shoot from the rooftops on the Las Vegas Strip and in the city’s downtown, officials are urging revellers to leave bags, backpacks and strollers at home.

The public request comes following deadly U.S. attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and in Las Vegas itself, where a driver recently plowed into pedestrians on a busy sidewalk, killing one person.

With files from CTV News’ Katie Simpson in London


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