World welcomes 2016 with lavish New Year fireworks (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

© Jason Reed
New Year’s Eve celebrations have kicked off with lavish fireworks displays as people around the world usher in 2016. However, some cities remain on high alert in the wake of terror threats.

Muscovites have been flooding into the city’s central Gorky Park to welcome in the New Year, with fireworks, concerts and other festivities planned for the night.

Public access to the Red Square has been closed this New Year’s Eve, as a live show was being filmed there. However, people gathered to celebrate around the Kremlin, where colorful festive decorations had been installed.

© Tatyana Makeyeva

The Pacific islands of Samoa and Kiribati were the first to start celebrations on Thursday with light displays adorning the night skies.

New Zealand and Australia then set the tone with spectacular celebrations. 

New Zealand’s Auckland met 2016 with a fanfare of record-breaking fireworks - 500kg of pyrotechnics consisting of 2,500 separate pieces launched from the top of the Sky Tower.

Sydney and Brisbane were lit by bursts of color as people gathered at vantage points to enjoy the light shows.

In Tokyo residents and guests released helium balloons near Tokyo Tower as the clock struck midnight.

People hold balloons to release them at the turn of the New Year at a hotel in front of the landmark Tokyo Tower in Tokyo, Japan, December 31, 2015, 2016. © Thomas Peter

South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Singapore all welcomed the coming New Year with a dazzling series of fireworks and pyrotechnics.

Dubai’s grand fireworks proceeded as scheduled despite a massive fire that engulfed the 5-star hotel close to the city’s central celebration venue.

READ MORE: Inferno at 63-story luxury hotel in Dubai near New Year’s Eve fireworks display (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Firefighters were still battling the fire which spread along the outside of the 302-meter tall skyscraper as the light show 2 km away at the Burj Khalifa tower kicked off. The skyscraper was decorated with 400,000 LED lights, while the fireworks display will featured 1.6 tons of pyrotechnics.

Indonesia’s Jakarta remains on high alert during the holiday after police foiled plans for an alleged New Year terror attack.

Celebrations in some European cities are also planned to take a more somber note as security has been ramped up in the wake of the Paris terror attacks on November 13 and warnings of assaults during the festivities.

Light displays have also been scrapped in Paris for safety reasons. However, the Eiffel Tower sparkled in Paris as the French capital celebrated the New Year.

On Wednesday, Brussels authorities took the difficult decision to cancel the festivities and fireworks planned for New Year’s Eve.

READ MORE: New Year’s Eve festivities & fireworks cancelled in Brussels over terror threat - mayor 

Meanwhile, UK authorities decided to deploy 2,000 armed police to shield London’s New Year festivities from terror attack.

READ MORE: 2,000 armed police deployed to ‘shield London’s New Year festivities from terror attack’

Though there was no specific alert for Italy, police presence has been increased by 30 per cent compared to last year. 

© Jason Reed

When the clock struck twelve in the UK, the London skyline was lit up with majestic fireworks. 

Fireworks explode around the London Eye wheel, the Big Ben clock tower and the Houses of Parliament to mark the beginning of the New Year in London, Britain, January 1, 2016.  © Toby Melville

The Scots didn’t give up on celebrations despite storm Frank as they came out to welcome the New Year. 

Fireworks explode over the castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, January 1, 2016. © Russell Cheyne

Festive events also went as planned in Germany, with citizens unimpeded by earlier terror alerts in Munich.

READ MORE: German police evacuate 2 train stations in Munich, warn public over ISIS suicide attack threat

Fireworks explode next to the Quadriga sculpture atop the Brandenburg gate during New Year celebrations in Berlin January 1, 2016. © Hannibal Hanschke