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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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Extra police on the streets for London's Notting Hill carnival

The annual festival of colour and Caribbean culture gets underway in West London today amid tensions following the recent riots.

London Mayor Boris Johnson pictured with members of the Genesis Mas band, who will be performing at the Notting Hill Carnival this weekend
London Mayor Boris Johnson pictured with members of the Genesis Mas band, who will be performing at the Notting Hill Carnival this weekend
Image: Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment

LONDON’S ANNUAL NOTTING Hill carnival will have record numbers of police on the streets today amid tensions following the recent spate of rioting in the capital and police involvement in the recent deaths of three men in the area.

The carnival is held every August bank holiday in West London and is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe.

The West London event is expecting to draw more than one million people and represents what the Guardian describes as the Metropolitan Police’s biggest public order test since the riots and amid an already high level of anxiety among many communities in London.

The paper reports that such tensions stem not only from the riots but also from the deaths of three men following incidents in which police used either Taser weapons or pepper spray.

The paper goes on to report that knife arches, stop and search and the use of “spotters” to identify troublemakers will all be employed by police during the event.

BBC News reports that London Mayor Boris Johnson hopes the carnival will “help heal wounds” left by the recent riots.

It will end 90 minutes earlier than previous years at 7pm tonight and tomorrow, a bank holiday in the UK, following concerns about safety from residents and businesses.

The Notting Hill Carnival has been running since 1966 and started as a local festival for the West Indian community in the area.

It has since grown to be an all encompassing Caribbean festival of music, blaring sound systems, stalls, and colourful costumes.

Here’s a flavour of it all from last year’s event:

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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