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Notting Hill Carnival brings reggae beats to London streets

25 august 2014, 10:16

 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, AFP reports.

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.

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 they had deployed 6,000 to the event, and had made 34 arrests by Sunday afternoon.

Arrests were for issues including theft, drugs offences and public order offences, while one person was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.

In the build-up to the carnival, Scotland Yard police arrested 126 people in a crackdown on gang crime ahead of the carnival, and seized weapons including two machine guns and a hand gun.

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