Hot on the heels of throwing a wet blanket on everyone’s New Year’s Eve, Hong Kong city authorities appear determined to do the same for Chinese New Year as well, saying they will cancel the massive annual fireworks display over Victoria Harbour amid security concerns related to the ongoing protests.
The news was first reported by Sing Tao Daily, citing a government source who said that the decision to cancel the fireworks was based on safety concerns given the large number of people gather on both sides of the harbor, as well as on boats, to watch the display.
The spectacle was due to take place on the second day of the upcoming Year of the Rat — Sunday, January 26.
Although the city’s long-running anti-government protests have calmed down in recent weeks, the source told the newspaper that it was difficult to guarantee that the day would go ahead without a hitch, and that it would be difficult to evacuate a large number of people in the event that something happened.
The last time the Lunar New Year fireworks were canceled was in February 2018, when authorities decided not to go ahead with the display out of respect for 19 people who were killed in a bus crash in Tai Po a few days prior.