Thousands attend Leicester Diwali celebrations

People attend Diwali celebrations on the Golden Mile in Leicester Image copyright Reuters
Image caption An estimated 40,000 people attend Diwali celebrations on the Golden Mile in Leicester

Thousands of people gathered on Leicester's Golden Mile to celebrate the festival of Diwali.

An estimated 40,000 piled into Belgrave Road on Sunday evening for the annual event, thought to be one of the biggest celebrations outside India.

The huge Diwali party included a firework display and traditional food, music and dance performances.

Leicestershire Police's Chief Constable Simon Cole tweeted two people were arrested during celebrations.

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Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Reuters

The climax firework display to mark the festival of lights drew criticism as they were moved this year from Cossington Park for health and safety reasons, leaving children "disappointed"".

Harry, from the Syston area, said it was not clear the pyrotechnics were reallocated.

"It was like a cattle market, people were pushing [each other to see the fireworks], it wasn't safe," he said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Reuters

Abdullah Rathor wrote on BBC Leicester's Facebook page: "At the spot we were waiting at in Cossington Park with kids we could hardly see any fireworks. Kids were really disappointed."

Councillor Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor, said it was on the "advice of the safety executive" to move the display.

"We are happy to review it because even we noticed on the day of the switch-on it didn't have the impact that it would have done otherwise," he said.

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Media captionThousands gather for Diwali lights switch-on

About 30,000 people gathered to watch the annual Diwali lights switch-on on 16 October, which marked the start of two weeks of events across the city.

Image caption Claudio Ranieri was part of the two-week Diwali celebrations in the city

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was a special guest on the stage for the switch-on on Belgrave Road.

Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, is the most important Hindu festival and celebrates the victory of good over evil.

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