Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton carnival: 'Ugly' scenes and arrests after event

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Media captionLuton town centre disorder caught on camera

Four people were stabbed during "ugly" scenes of disorder after the end of Luton Carnival, police have said.

Officers formed cordons to keep groups of youths apart when trouble broke out in the town centre at about 20:15 BST.

Missiles were thrown at officers, who also used batons to break up fights, and six people were arrested. The carnival itself passed off peacefully.

Bedfordshire Police appealed for information and video footage, some of which has been posted online.

Image copyright Kobiecy Klimat
Image caption Police and event organisers said the Carnival parade and events in Wardown Park passed peacefully

Police said the carnival, in Wardown Park, finished without incident at about 18:00 BST.

But a large fight broke out later in the St George's Square area and four people were taken to hospital with stab wounds. Several others were less seriously injured and required treatment.

'Utter disrespect'

Ch Supt David Boyle said: "The carnival itself passed peacefully and safely, as it has done for several years, and it is completely unacceptable that some people have attempted to ruin that.

"It is disappointing... we have seen a small minority of people causing ugly scenes across the town centre."

One man and five youths were arrested and were held in police custody.

The carnival was celebrating its 40th anniversary and the organisers estimated there were 9-10,000 people attending, which is down on some previous years when up to 50,000 have attended.

Thirty-seven groups took part in the parade which circled the park on public roads, but avoided the town centre.

Johanne Hudson-Lett, spokeswoman for the UK Centre for Carnival Arts, which organised the event, said: "It's dampened all the hard work that people put into creating what was a wonderful day in the park.

"We're very saddened by the behaviour of some of the carnival attendees."

Hazel Simmons, Luton Council leader, said those responsible had "shown complete and utter disrespect to the town and its people".

"We should all be sitting back and celebrating what was a fantastic spectacle with thousands of people coming out and enjoying a wonderful carnival event," she added.

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