Tens of thousands of revellers are expected in London's Notting Hill area again, despite the violence on the first day of the famous carnival on 28 August. The carnival's Grande Finale on 29 August comes after more than 100 people were arrested and the stabbing total reached five on the first day of festivities, which was the carnival's Children's Day.
Families attended in fancy dress and face paint for parades aimed at youngsters but violence marred the crowd's enjoyment. Following on one assault in Wornington Road at 4.25pm on 28 August, an ambulance was summoned for a 15-year-old boy with critical injuries. He was later declared stable in hospital. Police stated that a 14-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of committing grievous bodily harm.
According to reporting in London's Evening Standard newspaper, in total there were 105 arrests on the first day. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said they included 74 for alleged drugs offences, 24 for possession of a blade and four for sexual offences. The Metropolitan Police's introduction of a digital computer face-recognition system to recognise potential offenders at the event has so far not appeared to have had a substantial impact.
The London Ambulance Service reported that 411 members of the public were treated on day one, which included 74 taken to hospital. This year sees the 50th Carnival in west London, incorporating 60 bands and 38 sound systems. The carnival aims to celebrate Caribbean culture.
A popular attraction on 28 August was the performance of Simo Lagnawi, from Morocco, with his band Gnawa London. Lagnawi said: "The origin of our music is in slavery. It's very powerful. We go everywhere we can to play our music and show what it's about. We always have a great time wherever we play."
Meanwhile, Annuar Aziz, a businessman from Malaysia, came upon the carnival by chance while on holiday with his wife and four young children. Aziz, 41, said: "It's excellent. We are loving the free spirit of everyone and we have all been dancing. We didn't even know it was happening. We just arrived to London after visiting the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. We heard the music from where we are staying in Bayswater and just followed the sound."