Notting Hill Carnival reaches bombastic climax

Revellers filled the streets of west London as the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, reached its climax on Monday with its famous Caribbean-inspired parade, Agence France Presse reports.

A multi-ethnic throng milled between the stalls and thumping sound systems, drinking, dancing, and tasting jerk chicken as the smells of open-cooked food wafted through the air.

Cloudy weather did not deter hordes of party-goers from flooding the streets to cheer on dozens of floats and flamboyantly dressed dancers parading through the west London neighbourhood.

An extra 2,000 police officers were brought in to keep order in Notting Hill on Monday, adding to the 5,000 on patrol for Sunday’s Children’s Day.

Officers have been granted stop and search powers within the area where the carnival takes place, while the force has advised visitors to only use mobile phones when absolutely necessary.

Commander Christine Jones said: “Mobile phones, especially expensive ones, are a glittering prize for thieves.

“Don’t give them a head start by displaying them openly and only use them if it’s absolutely necessary. Pick up one of our maps instead and pre-arrange meeting points with family and friends.”

Police later confirmed a group of 34 people were detained at Kings Cross underground station in order to prevent a potential breach of the peace at the event.

“The group were stopped at the station at around 3:45 pm (1445 GMT) after it was suspected they were heading to the carnival to commit disorder,” said a police statement.

On Sunday, young performers covered in feathers, jewels and waving flags, danced their way along the sunny route to the sound of steel drums and calypso music.

The carnival was founded in 1964 following disturbances in Notting Hill six years earlier that saw clashes between whites and newly arrived immigrants from the West Indies.

This year’s festivities have largely been peaceful so far, police said, though one 20-year-old man was left in a serious but stable condition on Sunday after being stabbed in the back and buttocks in Ladbroke Grove.

Scotland Yard arrested 96 people during Children’s Day, mainly for drug and public order offences as well as robbery and assault.

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