Notting Hill Carnival brings reggae beats to London streets

Notting Hill Carnival

View gallery

Performers take part in a rain soaked Notting Hill Carnival on August 25th, 2014 in London, England. Despite the bad weather over 1 million visitors are expected to attend the two-day event which is the largest of its kind in Europe. The event has taken place on the West London streets every August Bank Holiday weekend since 1964. (Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)

London (AFP) - Europe's biggest street party the Notting Hill Carnival in London drew vast crowds on Sunday as revellers gathered for reggae, steel bands and dancing.

The annual celebration sees a five-kilometre (three-mile) route through west London sealed off to traffic and taken over by booming sound systems and dancers in exotic headdress.

Over one million people are expected to attend the two-day event.

The Notting Hill Carnival honours London's Afro-Caribbean culture in an area which was home to thousands of immigrants to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s onwards.

But in recent years, many have moved out of Notting Hill due to soaring property prices as it became one of London's most fashionable districts, popular with wealthy foreigners.

The area's modern bohemian charm was captured in director Richard Curtis's 1999 romantic comedy "Notting Hill".

Sunday is children's day at the carnival while the main event takes place on Monday, a public holiday in England.

"Carnival is a wonderful celebration and highlights what the Caribbean community does for London," said London mayor Boris Johnson.

"I hope everyone has a fantastic time and a truly great event."

Police said 6,000 officers were on duty at the event, and 95 arrests were made by Sunday night.

Arrests were made for theft, assault, drug and public order offences, while five people were arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.

"Carnival very much presents us with two extremes; those who want to enjoy the sound systems, cuisine and have a good time and those who use it as an opportunity to commit crime," said police chief superintendent Robyn Williams.

In the build-up to the carnival, Scotland Yard police arrested 157 people in a crackdown on gang crime ahead of the carnival, and seized weapons including two machine guns and a hand gun.

View Comments (0)