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‘London is open to all’ as countdown begins for new year celebrations

The Metropolitan Police said officers will be on duty in central London and all 32 boroughs.

Members from the London School of Samba perform in Trafalgar Square (Victoria Jones/PA)
Members from the London School of Samba perform in Trafalgar Square (Victoria Jones/PA)

Preparations are under way for London to ring in the new year, with the organisers sending out the message that the capital “welcomes the world’.

Barriers are being put in place in central London for the New Year’s Eve fireworks and the New Year’s Day parade, both of which will see hundreds of thousands of revellers on the streets.

The Metropolitan Police said officers will be on duty across inner London and all 32 boroughs as the capital celebrates the start of 2019, urging those participating in the events to keep each other safe.

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Bolivian dancers perform in Trafalgar Square two days ahead of the parade (Victoria Jones/PA)

Performers were practising in Trafalgar Square on Sunday for the January 1 parade, with marching bands and dance troupes due to walk the two mile route from Piccadilly to Parliament Square.

The 33rd year of London’s New Year’s Day Parade (LNYDP) will be broadcast on TV stations worldwide, with over 8,000 participants from across the globe taking part and raising money for mayoral charities across the city.

In a message posted on the LNYDP website, Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “There really is no better place to welcome in the New Year than London.

“From the world’s greatest fireworks show on New Year’s Eve, to the fun-filled New Year’s Day Parade and Festival, our capital will be celebrating our unity and diversity as we again show the world that London is open to all.”

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The Pride of Bixby band from Oklahoma joined London based performers during the warm up on Sunday (Victoria Jones/PA)

Dan Kirkby, communications director for the parade, said: “It’s hugely important to embrace the outward facing ethos of the greatest city in the world.

“The very fact we have people from 26 nations shows what a cultural kaleidoscope we have to cherish and shout about.”

Those with tickets to the sold-out New Year’s Eve fireworks show are being advised to “pack light” by police as suitcases and backpacks will be not be permitted, and to plan their route home ahead of midnight.

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America’s Clogging All-Stars will join the parade on Tuesday (Victoria Jones/PA)

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, Gold Commander for New Year’s Eve, said: “It is a lovely time of year and we would like everyone who comes to London to have a good time.

“The safety of those attending is our top priority and officers have been planning for several months for New Year’s Eve.

“Officers will be out and about to deter criminals and keep crowds safe but we need you to look after yourself and those around you as well.

“If you see anything suspicious or that causes you concern, please tell a steward or police officer. Keep an eye on your belongings and only bring what you need.”

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