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Notting Hill Carnival: Joyful times after the riots

Shanice Joseph
Image caption Shanice Joseph, left, is performing in costume at the Notting Carnival for the first time

In the aftermath of this summer's riots, the organisers of the Notting Hill Carnival said they wanted to put on an "uplifting" event for London.

The idea, said the carnival's co-director Christopher Boothman, was for "everyone to come early, enjoy themselves and go home safely".

One of those hoping to follow Mr Boothman's advice was John Hare, 52, from Blackpool, who was visiting the Notting Hill Carnival for the first time.

"The riots are finished and over. They were isolated incidents of criminality and we are safer now than we were four weeks ago because of the big police presence," said Mr Hare.

"If it had been cancelled, the message would have been that hooliganism wins. This is the act of defiance that is needed and normality must return."

Police presence

There are record numbers of police officers on patrol this year because of the riots. Around 6,500 are on duty for the carnival's second day, which is traditionally busier than the first day.

On every street around the parade route there are, at the very least, a handful of police officers and stewards. Early on in the day, the police and stewards very nearly outnumbered the revellers.

"There are a lot of police but I think they are keeping a low profile and they are all very pleasant," said Gillian Hayton, 49, from Carlisle, who was visiting the carnival with her husband Steven for the first time.

Sasi Sermparnish, 40, works in the Asian supermarket on Chepstow Road, Notting Hill. Her store had to close during the carnival, so she sells Thai food on a makeshift stall on the pavement outside.

One of the reasons why the carnival organisers decided to start and finish early this year was because of concerns from local businesses following the riots.

'Hard clean-up'

"Other years have been more lively and seen more people but yesterday was quiet. Everyone cleared quite quickly yesterday," said Ms Sermparnish.

"The carnival ended early but they let the cars straight away back on the roads. Cars are back but buses are not.

"There is no transportation so people just wander around and are not leaving the area. That makes it hard to clean up afterwards."

The Notting Hill Carnival attracts people from all over the world. It is now reputedly the second largest street festival outside of Brazil.

Image caption Resident Max Rendall said the noise was "so loud you can feel it in your gut".

Max Rendall, 76, has lived in the area for more than 40 years and although he said he had "never had any trouble with it" he did have one complaint.

"I came out here two or three times yesterday and there were a great many people. The thing I found difficult was the noise. I'm a bit deaf but it is so loud that you can feel it in your guts," he said.

"I can't help feeling that there are going to be a lot of deaf people living here in 20 years time."

Among the performers this year at the carnival was Shanice Joseph, 28, from London.

This is the first time she has performed in costume at the Notting Hill Carnival, although she is a veteran of the Trinidad Carnival.

"You can't compare, they are two different atmospheres," she said.

"In Trinidad you have hot sun and guaranteed weather. The British weather is always… different. But you love them both."

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