Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has offered congratulations to world leaders on the beginning of 2020, the new Christian year, and wished them a year full of peace and kindness for all people.
In his message, President Rouhani said, “I hope that in the coming year, world leaders exercise collaboration away from unilateralism, and using thought and action based on justice and freedom, make a year full of peace and kindness for all human beings, and bring about a life full of peace and security and welfare for their nations by overcoming the challenges faced by the humanity.”
At the end of his Tuesday message, President Rouhani wished a year full of prosperity and felicity for all people around the world.
Millions of people have begun ringing in 2020 with fireworks, dancing and champagne.
However, Australia’s celebrations were overshadowed by deadly wildfires while protests dampened the festive mood in Hong Kong and India.
New Zealanders were among the first to welcome the New Year, with fireworks lighting up the night sky over Auckland.
Large crowds thronged Sydney harbor to watch Australia’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks, even as smoke turned the evening sky in nearby coastal towns blood-red.
Thousands in India also planned to greet the New Year with protests, angered by a citizenship law they say will discriminate against Muslims and chip away at the country’s secular constitution.
Sydney decided to press ahead with its fireworks display despite calls by some members of the public for it to be canceled in solidarity with fire-hit areas in New South Wales, of which the city is the capital.
In Hong Kong, rocked by months of sometimes violent demonstrations, protesters were urged to wear masks at a rally called “Don’t forget 2019 – Persist in 2020” on Tuesday evening, according to social media posts.
“My new year wish is this movement can end soon but not because we lost the fight, because we win the fight,” said 40-year-old clerk Kong, who joined a small lunchtime protest in the central financial district and gave only her last name.
Authorities have deployed 6,000 police officers and Chief Executive Carrie Lam appealed for calm and reconciliation in her New Year’s Eve video message.
India has also been gripped by weeks of protests over legislation introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that eases the way for non-Muslim minorities in neighboring Muslim-majority nations such as Pakistan and Bangladesh to gain Indian citizenship.