The final day of the Notting Hill Carnival was “marred by serious violence,” police said after hundreds of arrests and several hospitalizations overshadowed the famed-event.
An estimated 2 million people packed the streets of West London on Sunday and Monday for the festival, Europe’s largest street party and one of the world’s biggest celebrations of Caribbean music and culture.
Violent riots took over the streets Monday, during which eight people were stabbed, leaving one 29-year-old man in critical condition.
“It is regrettable that for a second year in a row, Monday night at Carnival has been marred by serious violence,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who oversaw the policing operation.
There were 275 arrests across both days of the carnival for a range of offenses, including possession of weapons, assaults on police officers, drug possession and sexual offenses.
According to the Metropolitan Police Federation, 75 officers were attacked during the festival, including six bitten, one sexually assaulted and one hospitalization.
“Nobody disputes the significance of Carnival on London’s cultural calendar, and the overwhelming majority of those who came will have had a positive experience,” Adelekan said.
“However, we cannot overlook the stabbings, sexual assaults and attacks on police officers that we have seen.”
The Metropolitan Police Federation said on social media, “This is absolutely disgusting. No wonder our members dread policing this event.”
Videos show groups of young people running down a street dressed in black and wearing ski masks Monday night as the violence ramped up.
One individual appears to be waving a large machete as police on horseback chase after the group.
Similarly, images from earlier in the day show a different young man swinging a large weapon while approaching a group of men.
Officers also intercepted a group in possession of a firearm.
They seized the weapon and arrested the individual holding the weapon.
The Conservative Party’s London mayoral candidate Susan Hall called for the carnival to be moved somewhere safer, saying police “don’t want to be there.”
“It’s very upsetting and I’m afraid we have this every single year. It’s an incredible thing, the Notting Hill Carnival. I would just say move it. Move it to where it can be policed much better than where it is now,” Hall told LBC News.
A spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the event was “borne out of the Caribbean community in north Kensington and Notting Hill” and the streets of West London should “remain its home.”