Notting Hill Carnival: Thousands enjoy sound, salsa and sun – BBC News

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Image caption Dancers from the Paraiso School of Samba observe their own minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

Hundreds of thousands of revellers descended on Notting Hill for the final day of carnival.

Rooted in Afro-Caribbean culture and celebrating community cohesion, the event took on extra significance following the Grenfell Tower tragedy

Colourful floats passed within half a mile of the blackened tower and revellers were encouraged to lower their music and walk respectably.

People were asked to wear “green for Grenfell” to remember the fire victims.

The entire procession paused for a second time in two days for a minute’s silence to remember the victims of the Grenfell fire on 14 June, in which more than 80 people are believed to have died.

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The moment was concluded with a spontaneous round of applause and cheers, while firefighters were embraced and thanked.

Local MP Emma Dent Coad wiped away tears following the silence, which she observed with firefighters outside North Kensington fire station.

“It’s a really, really lovely atmosphere,” she said. “There’s gorgeous weather, there’s a lot of good feeling out there, a lot of people wearing green, and I think it should continue in that vein.”

Is the fun being sucked out of Notting Hill Carnival?

Rewind: More than 50 years of fun at Carnival

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Media captionSounds and colours from the 2017 Notting Hill Carnival
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Image caption There is an increased police presence following the terror attack in Barcelona
Image copyright AFP
Image caption This year is the 51st Notting Hill Carnival

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Partygoer Dianne Larrington told BBC Radio London: “I’ve been coming to carnival since I was eight years old and I love it.

“I cannot ever remember it being this hot at a carnival.

“Everyone is looking beautiful and gorgeous – don’t believe the hype, people are just here to enjoy themselves.”

And prominent female dancehall singer Spice, visiting from Jamaica to perform at the festival, said: “Carnival is all about fun and excitement and that’s what I’m here to bring.

“I see people in the street having a good time, and I’ve been dancing and enjoying myself.

“That’s what carnival is all about.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Firefighters observe a minute’s silence
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Image caption People wore green to remember Grenfell Tower fire victims

On Monday night, the Met Police said there had been 313 arrests across the two-day party.

The London Ambulance Service said it had treated 344 patients during the first day of carnival – many for alcohol-related injuries.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Sunday that although the 51st carnival took place in a “context of sadness and sorrow”, it was a celebration of London’s diversity.

A heavy police presence marked the carnival route on Monday, with steel barriers and concrete blocks there to prevent a Barcelona-style terror incident or acid attacks.

At the scene

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By BBC reporter Dan Freedman

Day two of the Notting Hill Carnival and another million people hit the streets to enjoy Europe’s largest street festival.

If revellers were concerned about the possible terror threat then they did not shown it.

The challenge for those policing them has been how to make carnival safe without compromising its sense of fun and freedom.

Despite the checkpoints on the outskirts, which vet each vehicle that comes into carnival – a so-called ring of steel – police retained their laid back approach where possible.

Some wore flowers around their necks, while others danced to the reggae and dub blasting out of sound systems.

After a year of terror and tragedy in London that for many at carnival has struck way too close to home, this community has united and shown the world their sense of joy will endure.

Of the terrorism threat, one performer said: “Anything can happen to anyone anywhere and that’s what terrorists want you to do – to be inside and be afraid.

“You can’t do what they want you to do, you have to live your life so no, I’m not worried about it.”

About a million people usually attend the carnival, making it Europe’s biggest street festival.

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The event runs close to the tower
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Organisers have encouraged people to wear green for Grenfell
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police officers look through binoculars on the rooftop of a building at carnival

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