Hundreds of thousands of participants dancing and having a good time in Rio de Janeiro-style have been on West London streets for Europe’s biggest carnival of Notting Hill.
Drumming groups, colorful girls, floats and sound systems were all taking centre stage.
Scotland Yard put a record of 6,500 police officers on duty in first big test since the latest England riots. Officers were patrolling the streets each day of the event as Scotland Yard continued its unprecedented security operation just few weeks after the riots.
Yesterday, 17 people had been arrested by afternoon at Notting Hill Carnival, bringing the total held over two days to 99.
Police made more than 40 pre-emptive arrests last week and agreed an earlier finish time for the carnival with organizers.
Commander Rodhouse from London Metropolitan Police said:
“Traditionally, Sunday is children’s day, thousands of people came out in Notting Hill to take part in this vibrant event which is so important in the capital’s calendar.
“Through effective stop-and-search, we believe we have deterred and prevented trouble from taking place.
“We’ve worked closely with event stewards and have seen huge support from all carnival participants to meet that really important earlier closedown.
“Our intelligence picture has not changed and we will make sure that our officers are out stopping the right people so everyone else can take part and join in the fun.”
For Notting Hill Carnival 2011, the biggest carnival of Europe, London police put in place a Section 60 order, which means the officer are allowed to search individuals to prevent serious violence, and a Section 60 AA order, giving officers the power to require any person to remove items that conceal their identity.
More than 4,000 additional officers were in other important points of London “as well as the thousands who are normally on duty”, Commander Rodhouse said.
And he added that troublemakers used to plot disruption via social networking technology.
London Mayor Boris Johnson issued a rallying call before the festivities began to “let the true spirit of London shine through“, hoping the carnival will help heal wounds left by the riots.
“It’s right that the carnival goes ahead so we can show the world that the overwhelming majority of London’s people are decent, law-abiding citizens who respect the law, love their city and want to celebrate our vibrant, diverse and historical culture.”
Boris Johnson attended the carnival this afternoon.
As today was the “adults day”, Notting Hill Carnival participants have enjoyed more than they did yesterday, also taking advantage of the good weather.