London Street Festival Begins Amid Memory of Recent Riots

Posted August 29th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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London's Notting Hill section Sunday hosted the first day of its annual Caribbean-style street festival. The two-day street festival typically draws crowds in excess of 1 million people.

This year's festival includes a record number of police officers to ensure the typically rowdy crowds do not become too unruly. Britain experienced its worst riots in years just three weeks ago. Several nervous area business owners and Notting Hill residents prepared for the worst by boarding up their businesses and homes.

Because of the early August riots, authorities questioned whether the West London festival should be held this year. Organizers saw the carnival as a way to re-unite the community.

Organizers did make one concession. The festival will end three hours earlier than normal so crowds can disperse before sunset.

The Notting Hill Carnival began in 1964 as a means of bringing together whites and immigrants from the West Indies after race riots occurred in the 1950s.