Notting Hill Carnival is Europes largest street carnival attracting over one million revelers to the Royal Boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea during the UK bank holiday in August. The carnival was started to ease race relations with the large Caribbean population in the area but, ironically, a few incidents of violence and murders occur during the festival each year.
Violence in the eighties provided a need for a large police presence at the Notting Hill Carnival, but now a few scattered incidents of stabbings and brawls are taking place on the outskirts of the festival. In the Notting Hill Carnival 2008, 50 police officers were attacked and injured at Ladbroke Grove underground station by mobs of youth; as a result, some Britons are asking for this years festival to be cancelled.
A survey done on Gumtree, Londons online classified service, showed that 65% of people who responded wanted the carnival to be cancelled. However, the committee for the annual event has held several meetings to discuss how to make Notting Hill Carnival 2009 safe for both the public and police.
For the first time in the festivals 45 year long history, the Royal Boroughs of Chelsea and Kensington (RBKC) have imposed a curfew on the event. The judging post will be closed at 6.30pm, allowing enough time for the floats to be off the Notting Hill Carnival route by dusk at 9pm. Restrictions on the number of floats and volume levels on the sound systems have also been imposed in time for the Notting Hill Carnival 2009.
Merrick Cockell, a council leader for the RBKC said, "We want to make Carnival 2009 a safer and more enjoyable event and hope the proposed limits will help us to achieve this". An investigation by the council found that previous Notting Hill Carnivals were let down by organisational failure; carnival staff were being recruited a few weeks before the event, which didnt allow time for sufficient training.
A Facebook group called Dont Cancel our Notting Hill Carnival 2009 RBKC currently has a large following and allows people to share their concerns about the carnival and make suggestions on how to improve its safety. Many people have put their full support behind the Notting Hill Carnival claiming that is in an integral part of London.
A director on the carnival committee, Michael Williams, said that they are ready to go ahead with the Notting Hill Carnival 2009. "We have had lots of discussions and they are mostly satisfied. It is going to be business as usual, Williams said.
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