In pictures: UK celebrates Bonfire night

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Every year around November 5th, people in Great Britain and some parts of the Commonwealth celebrate Guy Fawkes night to commemorate the dissident from York and his Roman Catholic conspirators who failed to blow up the houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. This so-called Gunpowder Plot is celebrated with firework displays and sparklers, bonfires and Guy Fawkes effigies.

Fire experts, always busy around this time of year, have called for the use of safe and legal firework displays and have urged citizens to attend organised public displays. Every year dozens of people sustain injuries due to careless handling of fireworks or fires. Notably, the city of York is not having a public firework display this year, as health and safety measures would raise costs excessively.

Events in Lewes, East Sussex (noted for Bonfire events and processions) were for the most part peacful, with only 16 arrests, mainly for public order offences. There had however been calls for certain tradtions of the Lewes events to be banned prior to the event on safety grounds.

Critics say that bonfires and fireworks are not environmentally friendly. Piles of wood prepared beforehand are attractive nests for hibernating creatures like hedgehogs, who might burn in the bonfires. Some even suggest that Fawkes' failed attack is not something to commemorate at all.

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