Notting Hill Carnival opens with children's day

Notting Hill Carnival The carnival is in its 49th year

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Europe's biggest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, has opened with thousands of revellers watching a parade of giant floats.

Up to one million people are expected over two days for a feast of Caribbean culture, food, music and dance.

Hundreds of youngsters are taking part in the children's day at the carnival which traditionally starts the event, now in its 49th year.

The carnival procession started at 0900 BST on Great Western Road.

One of the first groups to take to the streets was the charity Kinetika Bloco, whose dancers wore pink, green and white costumes while a brass band played songs from The Clash's Rock the Casbah to Daft Punk's Get Lucky.

Rail strike

After fears the start of the event would be hampered by rain, the skies cleared and the sun shone on performers as they paraded through the streets of west London in bright costumes.

As of 1530 BST the Met Police had arrested 17 people at the carnival for several different offences including a public order offence, carrying an offensive weapon, drugs, theft and drink driving.

Notting Hill parade Children's day traditionally starts the event

A spokesman said 6,000 officers were on duty at the carnival on Sunday and just under 7,000 would be attending on Bank Holiday Monday.

London Ambulance said by noon it had treated 41 people and taken six to hospital.

Notting Hill Carnival opened hours after London Overground guards began a 48-hour strike over plans to axe jobs, affecting more than a quarter of services.

The overground operator said 72% of planned services were operating.

Peter Austin, managing director for London Overground Rail Operations Limited (Lorol), told the BBC alternative arrangements were in place for affected routes but passengers were advised to check Transport for London's (TfL) website before travelling.

"Of our 124 conductors, more than half did not vote in favour of industrial action and so many are available to work this bank holiday weekend with managers covering shifts for those who are not," he said.

From Trinidad to Notting Hill

carnival procession

Replacement bus services are in place on the parts of the Richmond and Clapham Junction to Stratford Junction routes, which are affected by the industrial action.

From Richmond, the District Line is operating normally and Southern Trains is running an hourly service between Clapham Junction and Kensington Olympia.

However, it is not currently calling at Imperial Wharf and an hourly service between South Croydon and Watford Junction will not call at Imperial Wharf and Shepherd's Bush on Monday.

The strike, over plans to axe jobs and introduce driver-only trains, started at 00:01 BST.

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