A year after stampede, Shanghai opts out of New Year celebration

Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:13am EST
 
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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Authorities in the Chinese city of Shanghai have opted not to organize New Year celebrations the historic riverfront Bund this week, a year after a stampede killed 36 people.

City spokesman Xu Wei announced the decision on Tuesday, state broadcaster CCTV reported on its microblog.

"There will be no activities on the Bund to greet the 2016 new year. Citizens who go there on their own, please pay attention to maintaining order," Xu was quoted as saying.

The deadly crush last year occurred at around midnight on steps up to a riverside walkway as thousands of people gathered by the Huangpu River. Most of those who died were in their 20s while 49 people were injured.

Two years ago, a New Year's Eve fireworks and laser show on the Bund drew a crowd of 300,000 people, and officials canceled last year's show days before it was set to take place due to concerns about crowd management, the Shanghai Daily reported at the time.

Despite that, a huge crowd still gathered.

Four district-level officials were fired and stripped of their Communist Party posts after the stampede and another seven were disciplined after an investigation concluded they had not done enough to mitigate the risks of such a big crowd.

The municipal government later canceled a series of events, including annual Lantern Festival celebrations and an agricultural produce exhibition that has run for 14 years.

(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel)

 
People offer prayers during a memorial ceremony for people who were killed in a stampede incident during a New Year's celebration on the Bund, in Shanghai January 2, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song