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Carnival Comes To Europe

 

Updated : Aug 31, 2009

Hundreds of thousands of revellers ignored the gloomy weather yesterday and enjoyed Europe's biggest street carnival.

Giant Popeye puppets and chocolate-smeared dancers joined scores of costumed masquerade artists as the streets of Notting Hill in London were transformed by brightly-coloured outfits and booming basslines reports the Herlad.

Chris Boothman, the carnival chief, added that security was at its best after the event secured its biggest budget in years thanks to a new sponsorship deal.

He said: "We have worked really hard with police and we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be ok.

"We have had more money this year than we have in the last five. I think the result today is a good one."

The Carnival has been held on the streets of Notting Hill since its origins in 1965.

The Caribbean community lead the event, many of whom have lived in the area since the 1950s.

In the past, visitors have swollen to around two million during the two-day event, which snakes around a route about 32kms long

A change to this year's event saw processions begin earlier than normal, with police saying that a major security operation would be in place during the festivities.

Officers were manning a series of security rings to target known troublemakers and flush out anyone carrying guns or knives.

More than 150 people were sent letters telling them to stay away and 16 suspects were arrested in the run-up to the event.

A police spokesman said: "Our job is to make sure we do all we can to keep the thousands of people who go as safe as can be.

"Given the huge number of people who take part in Carnival, crime rates are low, and our policing style last year made sure that less people were a victim of crime. We will be working with the full support of the organisers and the community to ensure that success continues this year," the spokesman added.

Police had carried out regular stop and search operations to disrupt gang activity, in areas where there is intelligence that gangs may attend the carnival.

 

 

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