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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Londres : Un carnaval de Notting Hill fliqué en guise de test

by Romain Silvi

London : Notting Hill Carnival crawling with police by way of a test

Translated Saturday 3 September 2011, by Nicole Hawkesford and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The biggest carnival on Europe’s streets, which takes place in the London borough of Notting Hill, is placed under heavy police surveillance. Following the riots, the police force has been reinforced; 6,500 officers have been deployed in West London.

As it has every year since 1966, Notting Hill becomes the stage for a brightly coloured carnival which puts Caribbean music centre-stage. Nearly a million people are expected to attend the event, spread over two days, which began yesterday (Sunday) with a day traditionally dedicated to children. This Monday, the carnival floats and groups of musicians and dancers will start the parade from midday. Trailers daubed with paint for the occasion carry loud-speakers broadcasting lively music, followed by boisterous dancers in costume. Every year, the consumption of alcohol leads to fights and outbursts, which the London police force is trying to avoid at all costs this Monday.

Some weeks after the riots which hit London, the authorities fear any incident. Above all, a few month before the Olympic Games, the government and the security services want to reassure everyone that they are able to control a public event that many people are expected to attend. This Monday, 1000 more police officers than on Sunday will be called upon, bringing the total workforce to 6,500. "We have maintained a very visible presence, and we have seen to it that police officers intervene at the right time" emphasised Steve Rodhouse on Sunday, a high-level officer from Scotland Yard in charge of the Carnival’s security. On Sunday, 53 people were arrested, for various crimes (pickpocketing, possession of drugs etc.) There were no disturbances to report, on this final festive weekend of the summer.

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