Fireworks Fizzle: Tourism Board says NYE display will be vastly diminished over protest fears

First Hong Kong’s malls said they’d be dialing back their typically lavish Christmas decorations. Now it would appear the same fate has befallen the city’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

The spoilsports over at the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced that the display, in which thousands upon thousands of individual fireworks are traditionally fired from barges moored in the city’s iconic harbor, would be vastly scaled down over fears of protests.

According to Headline News, protesters online are purportedly planning on forming another Baltic Way-esque human chain that night, prompting safety fears for the event, which traditionally draws hundreds of thousands.

“The HKTB places high importance on public safety of all events it organizes,” the Tourism Board said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “In view of the current situation in Hong Kong, we have decided to adopt a new format for this year’s New Year Countdown event.”

Rather than the traditional barrage of fireworks, this year’s New Year’s spectacle will be a souped-up version of the city’s nightly “Symphony of Lights” skyline display ([cough] lame! [cough]), along with some pyrotechnics fired from the roofs of two skyscrapers.

There will also be a large countdown clock outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and a lottery for prizes.

By comparison, this year’s Lunar New Year display featured nearly 24,000 individual fireworks fired skyward in just over 20 minutes — in other words, more than 1,000 explosions a minute for nearly half an hour.

But yeah, we’re sure the “Symphony of Lights” will be… fine.

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