The final day of the Notting Hill Carnival was “marked by serious violence,” police said, after hundreds of arrests and multiple hospitalizations marred the famous event.
An estimated 2 million people took to the streets of west London on Sunday and Monday for the festival, Europe’s biggest street party and one of the world’s biggest celebrations of Caribbean music and culture.
Violent riots erupted in the streets on Monday, leaving eight people stabbed and a 29-year-old man in critical condition.
“It is unfortunate that Monday night at the carnival was marked by serious violence for the second consecutive year,” said Assistant Deputy Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who oversaw the police operation.
Across both days of Carnival, there were 275 arrests for a range of crimes including gun possession, assault on police officers, drug possession and sex offences.
According to the Metropolitan Police Federation, 75 officers were attacked during the festival, including six bitten, one sexually assaulted and one hospitalized.
“No one disputes the importance of Carnival in London’s cultural calendar and the vast majority of those who came will have had a positive experience,” Adelekan said.
“However, we cannot ignore 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 are scared of policing this event.”
Videos show groups of young people dressed in black and wearing ski masks running through a street Monday night as violence mounted.
One person appears brandishing a large machete while police on horseback pursue the group.
Likewise, images from earlier in the day show another young man brandishing a large gun while approaching a group of men.
Officers also intercepted a group who were in possession of a firearm.
They confiscated the gun and arrested the person who possessed the gun.
London’s Conservative Party mayoral candidate Susan Hall called for the carnival to be moved to a safer location, saying police “don’t want to be there”.
“It’s very worrying and I’m afraid it happens to us every year. It’s an incredible thing, the Notting Hill Carnival. I would just say move it. Put it where it can be monitored much better than where it is now,” Hall told LBC News.
A spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the event “emerged from the Caribbean community of north Kensington and Notting Hill” and the streets of west London should “remain their home”.