Notting Hill Carnival 2011 will go ahead, but will close earlier after the London riots.
The Notting Hill Carnival 2011 will go ahead, but will be closed early each night because of the heightened fears of trouble after last week’s London riots.
The carnival’s organizers said Thursday the event would end in daylight in an effort to minimize the risk of disturbances.
Notting Hill Carnival 2011 organizing committee said in a statement it would continue “to assess the severity of the impact the riots may potentially have on Notting Hill carnival 2011 and to discuss measures that will be put in place to avoid any untoward incidents”.
Police will be out in force at the two-day event over the August bank holiday weekend. It is a showcase for African-Caribbean culture and can attract crowds of one million people.
Notting Hill Carnival 2011 organizers have decided the parade of floats will finish by 6:30pm, and the static sound systems by 7:00 pm, earlier than usual.
The aim is to finish so that crowds of people have dispersed by the time it gets dark, which is believed by police to be the time when trouble is most likely to occur.
The other reason for the earlier finish is that parents may keep youngsters taking part in the carnival away, fearing an increased chance of trouble.
Previously, Scotland Yard had planned to have 5,000 officers on duty during Notting Hill Carnival 2011 but, in the wake of last week’s riots, the number will be more than double.
Because of the widespread nature of the rioting, which saw disorder in 22 out of London’s 32 boroughs, there will also be an increased police presence across the capital.
“Notting Hill Carnival is one of London’s most important cultural events and to cancel it would have a negative impact on London’s economy and reputation as a centre for successful major events,” said a spokesman for the organizing committee.
“After the recent disturbances in London, concerns about the safety of the event were expressed by residents of Notting Hill, the business community and those involved in producing Carnival bands.”
“The Carnival will therefore start at 9am and conclude by 7pm on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August. Additional police officers and stewards will also be on duty to provide extra cover.”
The Met supports the decision to go ahead with the carnival believing that it will be a symbol of the return to normality.
London Metropolitan Police’s acting commissioner, Tim Godwin, testifying before the home affairs committee, said:
”I want it to go ahead.”
The number of letters to Kensington and Chelsea council calling for the carnival in west London to be scrapped seems to be roughly the same number as every year.
The Notting Hill Carnival 2011 bands will take to the roads from around 9am on Sunday 28th August 2011 and the same time on Monday 29th of August 2011. Sunday is Children’s day and Monday is Adults day.
The event, which began in 1964 and is now one of the world’s biggest street festivals, has been marred by violence in the past.
In 1976, rioting broke out in Notting Hill at the end of carnival in which 100 police officers and 60 members of the public were injured. In 2000, there were two murders during the carnival.
Notting Hill Carnival is London’s most vibrant celebration of diversity, colour and sound.
Held each August Bank Holiday since 1964, Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe. Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival.
At the roots of the Notting Hill Carnival are the Caribbean carnivals of the early 19th century – a particularly strong tradition in Trinidad – which were all about celebrating the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. The very first carnival was an attempt to showcase the steel band musicians who played in the Earls Court of London every Weekend. When the bands paraded through the streets of Notting Hill, they drew black residents out on to the streets, reminding them of the Caribbean homes they had left behind.
Notting Hill Carnival has become an internationally acclaimed event which remains true to its Caribbean roots. Over the last four decades, it’s matured into a melting pot of diverse cultural and musical genres that come together in modern West London streets.
Today it’s Europe’s largest street festival with hundreds of thousands of regular visitors enjoying live Masquerade bands, Soundsystems, street food, dancing and much more too.
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