28 August 2005

"Unity and Diversity"

This looks like some real good fun!


Hundreds of Thousands at Carnival
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to enjoy the first day of the 41st Notting Hill Carnival.

It began on Sunday with Children's Day, which saw colourfully dressed youngsters performing on the streets of west London.

Police described atmosphere as "good-natured". They said there had been nine arrests so far.

The famous parade of floats and performers takes place on bank holiday Monday.

The theme of the 41st carnival is "unity and diversity".

But the event has been hit by controversy - London mayor Ken Livingstone wanted to see the carnival move to Hyde Park, with only a procession to its spiritual home of Notting Hill.

Organisers said they would not change the route without properly consulting the many community-based groups who take part in the carnival.

Hyde Park will host the mayor's Caribbean Showcase, a new free event for families, on Monday.

It will be made up of several zones featuring music, business, arts, food and fashion and will run from noon until 1900 BST.

Police said they had reviewed carnival security following the London bombings.

While there is no intelligence of any terror threat, 10,000 officers and 500 transport police are being deployed.

Also, about 80 CCTV cameras are in operation over the carnival area.

Commander Chris Allison said: "Carnival is an important annual event in London's calendar - this importance has only increased since the tragedy that struck London on 7 July.

"My colleagues will be working very hard over the weekend to make sure that everyone coming to carnival has a great time and is as safe as they can be."

'Bigger, better and safer'

But Professor Chris Mullard, chair of the Notting Hill Carnival, said: "This morning saw the spiritual awakening of carnival with people rising with the sun.

"This year is going to be an extraordinary festival. It's going to be bigger, better and safer than any other."

The London Ambulance Service said they had treated 48 people on Sunday.

Two had to be taken to hospital as a precaution and one was said to be in a serious condition after suffering an asthma attack.

Police are advising visitors to plan journeys in advance, have a set meeting place in case people are separated from family or friends as mobile phone networks are expected to be jammed and to not bring anything valuable to the festival.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/08/28 16:30:01 GMT



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