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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August, 2004, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Streets fill up at 40th carnival
Dancer at carnival
The carnival is celebrating 40 years as an event
Thousands of people are celebrating the Notting Hill Carnival on the streets of west London.

Police said they are pleased with how the event has gone so far and predict that more than a million people will have attended over the weekend.

About 250,000 people took to the streets on Sunday - more than double the first day last year - to celebrate the carnival's 40th anniversary.

Scotland Yard says 71 arrests have been made since 0001 BST on Sunday.

Everyone is over the moon that it has kept going for 40 years - it has really made a big mark on the London cultural map
Chris Mullard, chairman of the London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd

Ch Insp Wayne Mawson said: "The atmosphere is fantastic.

"It has been very peaceful and that has been reflected in the crime and arrest figures.

"We do not want to be complacent as there is still the evening to come but yesterday was a superb family day and everyone who came really enjoyed themselves.

"Crime is low, reported crime is low, and people are still enjoying themselves. It is a great carnival atmosphere and lets hope the whole event is especially successful considering it is its 40th birthday."

About 10,500 officers have been on duty over the weekend in what remains the Met's biggest annual public order event.

People in pink costumes
Thousands of people in costume fill the streets of west London
A stop and search operation was carried out on Monday afternoon at Mile End Tube Station following intelligence that a group of 60 youths were planning to disrupt carnival.

Mr Mawson said eight people were arrested for possession of knives and body armour and a number of other knives were found on the pavement.

Freedom and Justice was the theme for this year's carnival which is one of the biggest street festivals in Europe.

Caribbean calypso music rings out of huge sound systems on a series of floats, many of which people dance around in glittering costumes.

While the carnival is celebrating four decades, the roots of the event date back even further to the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833 when the first Caribbean carnival was held in Trinidad.

Chris Mullard, chairman of the London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, said: "Everyone is over the moon that it has kept going for 40 years - it has really made a big mark on the London cultural map."

The BBC's Samantha Simmonds
"For those taking part, it was just about having fun"

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