Notting Hill Carnival opens with Grenfell ceremony

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Hundreds took part in the traditional Jouvert opening parade, which involves hurling paint at each other

The Notting Hill Carnival has begun with a special ceremony as “a small act of remembrance” following the Grenfell fire tragedy.

The charity single Bridge Over Troubled Water was sung and a group multi-faith prayer was held.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said although the 51st carnival took place in a context of sadness and sorrow, it was a celebration of London’s diversity.

A “ring of care” has been formed around the tower by police.

Earlier, the carnival got under way with a traditional paint fight.

The tradition, known as Jouvert, meaning “open of the day”, sees revellers hurl paint at each other which dancing to steel bands and African drummers.

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Jouvert means “open of the day” in French, and marks the beginning of festivities

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In her speech local MP Emma Dent Coad, who had previously likened the carnival to a wake, praised the “Grenfell generation” of young people and urged them to set aside sadness and worries.

“Carnival is for dancing, laughing, singing along and having a wonderful time with our community and those closest to us,” she said.

More than 80 people are believed to have died when fire engulfed the Grenfell Tower block of flats on 14 June. The carnival route passes near the tower.

Pepe Francis, chairman of the carnival trust, said: “This will be the first opportunity for visitors to Carnival to pay their respects for those affected by Grenfell.”

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan has met families of the victims of the fire

Organisers have encouraged attendees to wear or accessorise in “green for Grenfell” in a display of “reverence and respect amidst the revelry”.

Hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles will be protected by fencing, while the public have been asked not to take selfies at the site.

A reflection zone will be placed near the burnt high-rise, where performers will lower the volume of their music.

At 15:00 on both days, hundreds of thousands of revellers along the route are expected to pause and observe a minute’s silence to mark the tragedy.

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The public have been asked not to take selfies at the site

A spokesman for Grenfell United, a residents and survivors group, said: “We hope people will follow these requests from us and our friends and family in the wider community.

“They will enable people to pay their respects; be conscious of our vulnerability; and show solidarity for our ongoing demands for housing and full justice, in the creative spirit of Carnival.”

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Hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles have been placed around Grenfell Tower

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“Green for Grenfell” banners have been made for the event

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AFP

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Bunting adorns fences and railings in north Kensington, near Grenfell Tower

Steel barriers, concrete blocks and a ban on vehicles will be in place to protect revellers from the threat of terrorism.

Scotland Yard said there was no specific intelligence but security plans had been “thoroughly reviewed” after the Barcelona attack.

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Up to seven thousand officers will be on duty each day at the event


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