Melancholy celebrations marked the arrival of 2020 around the world on Tuesday, as heavyhearted revelers raised a glass in hopes of happier times ahead in fire-ravaged Australia and protest-swarmed Hong Kong.
Some roads were closed and barriers blocked traffic in the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district, where protesters celebrated 2020 with chants for change.
Lan Kwai Fong revelers celebrated 2020 at 11 a.m. EST by raising hands and chanted their familiar phrase, “five demands, not one less," in calling for universal suffrage, charges to be dropped against arrested protesters, investigation of police brutality, an end to calling protesters "rioters" and a pledge to never put forward a controversial extradition bill.
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An hour earlier, revelers in Tokyo rang in 2020 at 10 a.m. EST, with many flocking to temples and shrines, offering incense with their prayers to celebrate the passing of 2019.
Revellers in Lan Kwai Fong erupt in cheers as they usher in 2020. Many hold their hands out to represent “five demands, not one less”.
It's the first Jan. 1 of the new Reiwa era which began in May, after Emperor Akihito stepped down and his son Naruhito became emperor. Japanese citizens also said they they were looking forward to this summer when the nation is set to play host to the Olympics, which get underway on July 24.
“We have a new era and so I am hoping things will be better, although 2019 was also a good year because nothing bad happened," said Masashi Ogami, 38, who ran a sweet rice wine stall at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo.
Thousands of people in India ushered in 2020 by protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a citizenship law they said will discriminate against Muslims and go against India's secular constitution.
In New Delhi, which is in the grips of its second coldest winter in more than a century, protester Irshad Alam, 25, his wife and year-old child endured the New Year's Eve chill to ring in 2020 and make their point against the government.
"It’s freezing here," he said in Delhi, where it struck midnight at 1:30 p.m. EST. "But we are still here because we care about this movement."
Ahead of Moscow's 2020, which started at 4 p.m. EST, President Vladimir Putin urged his citizens to rally around his vision for a modern Russia.
“We are living in turbulent, dynamic and controversial times, but we can and should do everything for Russia to develop successfully and so that everything in our lives can change only for the better,” Putin said in his annual taped statement to the nation.
While Moscow is normally a picturesque winter wonderland this time of year, there was no snow to be found in the nation's capital as the mercury hovered just above freezing.
Snow was trucked in to some central neighborhoods of the capital, only to melt shortly after it was dumped.
Pope Francis greeted pilgrims Tuesday through St. Peter's Square in Vatican City when a woman abruptly grabbed him. After reaching out to touch a child, the pope turned away from the crowd only for a nearby woman to seize his hand and pull the pontiff.
Francis appeared to be in pain and wrenched his arm away from the woman.