Pubs, shops and homes in Notting Hill are boarded up after boss of cancelled carnival urged revellers to stay off the streets – as 3,000 police are on alert for million-strong BLM march in London on Sunday
- Notting Hill Carnival is set to go ahead virtually for the first time in its 54-year history this weekend
- But the streets of the affluent west London area are still being boarded up amid fears of large-scale protests
- Extinction Rebellion (XR) planning a ‘civilly disobedient long weekend’ and urging supporters to join Black Lives Matter march from Notting Hill to Hyde Park
- 60 police support units and armed response teams totalling 3,000 officers expected to be deployed
The boss of Notting Hill Carnival has urged revellers to stay off the streets this weekend amid plans for huge protests by Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion supporters.
The annual Bank Holiday event has moved online for the first time in its 54-year history, but this has not stopped authorities preparing for public disorder in the affluent West London neighbourhood.
Shops, restaurants and homes have been boarded up down Notting Hill’s main roads that are usually flooded with around one million people over the two-day celebration of Caribbean and black culture.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) have revealed plans for a ‘civilly disobedient long weekend’ and urged its supporters to join a BLM march from Notting Hill to Hyde Park.
The demonstration, dubbed the ‘Million People March’, will call for the defunding of police forces.
In plans seen by The Mail on Sunday, Scotland Yard will deploy up to 3,000 police officers including eight armed response teams and 46 officers dedicated to ‘firearms intervention tactics’ to tackle disorder.
The decision to cancel the usual Notting Hill street party was announced in May due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and since then organisers have put together an entirely digital festival.
Spread over four separate channels, the bank holiday weekend’s entertainment will have more than 200 videos showing in excess of 36 hours of original content.
Matthew Phillip, executive director of Notting Hill Carnival, said people should enjoy the event ‘at home safely’.
Asked what he would say to anyone planning to come into the area or to anyone with a street party in mind, Mr Phillip said: ‘We would ask them to respect carnival, respect the community, and also respect the health and wellbeing of the people that have been affected by this pandemic.
The boss of Notting Hill Carnival has urged revellers to stay off the streets this weekend as the event moves online for the first time in its 54-year history
Up to 3,000 police officers will be deployed in London over the bank holiday weekend amid fears of public disorder in the affluent area of west London
Extinction Rebellion (XR) revealed plans for a ‘civilly disobedient long weekend’ and urged its supporters to join a Black Lives Matter march from Notting Hill to Hyde Park. The demonstration, dubbed the ‘Million People March’, is calling for the defunding of the police
‘We’ve all gone through a lot in the last few months, we’ve sacrificed a lot.’
He said cancelling the carnival was not an easy decision, adding: ‘We did it in the interest of safety, so we would urge people to stay at home, stay away from the streets of Notting Hill.
‘There’s no infrastructure there in place, there’s no toilets. These are the things that are needed if you’re bringing a lot of people on to the streets, and it wouldn’t be fair on the local community of Ladbroke Grove and North Kensington to disrupt the area like that.
‘We want people to stay home and stay safe and respect carnival and protect it.
‘We don’t want anything to jeopardise the future of the carnival.’
A decision to cancel the west London street party was announced in May due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and since then organisers have put together an entirely digital festival. Pictured: Caribbean soca dancers display their costumes in Piccadilly Circus as they promote the first ever digital Carnival
The Carnival’s director Matthew Phillip said cancelling the carnival was not an easy decision, adding: ‘We did it in the interest of safety, so we would urge people to stay at home, stay away from the streets of Notting Hill’
Spread over four separate channels, the bank holiday weekend’s entertainment will have more than 200 videos showing in excess of 36 hours of original content
Extinction rebellion want ‘high impact disruption’
XR has urged its local chapters to cause ‘high-impact disruption’ over the weekend before it starts a nationwide ‘rebellion’ on September 1.
The eco-activist organisation has signalled its intention to blockade Parliament Square as MPs return from the summer recess, while affiliated groups will descend on Manchester and Cardiff.
It aims to win attention and support for its Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill which it published earlier this month.
The Bill, drafted with the help of scientists and academics, calls for a ‘citizens’ assembly on climate change’ and a clear plan to stem rising global temperatures.
In an online post the group said: ‘We will disrupt the entrances to Parliament and stop MPs from continuing to pass policy that’s killing us until they agree to set up a National Citizens’ Assembly with real influence in Westminster.’
Asked how worried he is about people coming into the area, Mr Phillip said: ‘Well, obviously we are worried, because people do want to get out and celebrate, but ultimately we hope that people will be responsible and sensible.
‘If they really do love carnival, they wouldn’t come on to the streets of carnival. They would want to protect it in the same way that we have as organisers and the carnival community.’
Reflecting on the significance of the west London summer staple, Mr Phillip said: ‘Carnival means so much to many people.
‘You’ve only got to look on social media and hear from people that go to carnival regularly, it’s such an important part of people’s lives.
‘I’ve heard some people say they’d rather have carnival than Christmas. It’s very important and it’s been that way for over 54 years.
‘I think, because of the meaning of it, why it was set up in the first place, to bring people together in times of adversity and unite people, it’s always been an important thing to do, bring people together in the spirit of unity.’
Notting Hill Carnival 2020: Access All Areas will include videos filmed all over the world as well as at venues across London, including the Royal Albert Hall, Abbey Road Studios, Theatre Royal and The Tabernacle.
Singing sisters the Sundvivas – Samantha and Nadine Bryant – are among those who recorded music at Abbey Road Studios for the event.
‘Carnival means everything to us,’ said Nadine, adding: ‘We’ve just grown up with Caribbean culture so it’s really part of us.’
The move comes after Extinction Rebellion (members of the group pictured last year) revealed plans for a ‘civilly disobedient long weekend’
Singer-songwriter Don-E said he was ‘gutted’ about the carnival being cancelled as he has been going to it since the 1980s, but is pleased to be part of the virtual event.
Looking ahead to celebrating at home with his family, he said: ‘It’s going to be a different one this year, totally unexpected. I’m just going to have to adapt this year.’
In 2019, more than one million people had been expected to attend Notting Hill Carnival, which has been held since 1966.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged everyone who loves the carnival to enjoy the show from home.
‘We’ve all made huge sacrifices to reduce the level of Covid-19 in our city, and it’s vital that this bank holiday weekend we continue to play our part in tackling the spread of this deadly virus,’ he said.
What events are Extinction Rebellion planning over their four-day ‘regional rebellion’?
- BANNER DROP – UK-WIDE – Extinction Rebellion is asking local groups to ‘hang their banners to Tell The Truth about the climate and ecological emergency’.
- 8.30am – BRISTOL: Activists plan to block the Prince Street Bridge to address the ‘climate and ecological emergency’
- 9.30am – NORWICH: XR demonstrators will gather at Whitlingham Country Park for what is being dubbed the ‘Tour de Norwich’
- 11AM – BIRMINGHAM: THE ‘Midlands HS2 Rebellion’ at Eastside Park in Birmingham will see people invited to dress either as an animal, tree or flower ‘threatened by HS2 destruction’ or in funeral attire. They will form a slow funeral march to the HS2 headquarters where they will hold a ‘die-in’.
- 12pm – MANCHESTER: A protest against plans for the High Speed 2 rail network as part of the ‘Northern HS2 Rebellion’
- 2.30pm – CAMBRIDGE: Activists will gather for the ‘Oily Handed March’ at Senate House, which will see them march through Cambridge to demand the university and colleges divest from fossil fuel companies.
- 2.30pm – CENTRAL LONDON: Activists lobbying against Shell from XR Lambeth, XR Southwark and XR Wandsworth will gather at Jubilee Gardens
- 6pm – BRIGHTON TO LONDON: A mass bike ride entitled ‘Swarm to the Rebellion’
- AIRPORTS AND AVIATION – UK-WIDE: XR said there ‘should be No Going Back’ to the airline industries following the coronavirus pandemic.
- 10AM – SOUTH LONDON: The Sutton, Merton, Croydon and Kingston XR groups are joining forces opposite the Pavillion Cafeat Beddington Park to stage actions highlighting the issues around the Beddington Incinerator.
- 11AM – NORTH LONDON: Activists from seven North London groups will gather at Edmonton Green in Enfield for a day opposing the Edmonton incinerator.
- 11AM – BISHOP’S STORTFORD: A mass action at Bishop’s Stortford station protesting the expansion of airports including the nearby London Stansted
- 11AM – LEWIS: A funeral march dubbed a ‘Procession for the Planet’ on Westgate Street, including a jazz band and black-clad mourners. The protest will later change to ‘celebrate joyously the beauty and power of nature’.
- 12PM – BRIGHTON: The ‘We want to live March’ will take place at Brighton Pavillion, involving XR groups from Lewes, Shoreham, Worthing and Brighton who will march along Brighton seafront to call for change.
- 12PM – LONDON, OXFORD, CARDIFF, LEICESTER, YORK – Parents are encouraged to come with their babies and/or older children to ‘peacefully feed and play in protest at fossil fuel bailouts and the failure to transition to a green economy’. The London action is happening at the Bank of England.
- 2PM – TBC: A protest planned to cancel the expansion of Luton Airport
- 2.30PM – GATWICK: A ‘Mad Hatters’ Tea Party’ at Gatwick Airport South Terminal, with activists encouraged to ‘bring a picnic, dress up if you want, and protest with us about the government’s and the aviation industry’s lack of action to take radical steps towards zero carbon’.
- 3PM – LEEDS: A protest starting at Millennium Square in Leeds is aimed at stopping the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport. Activists are taking a bike ride across the region with the aim of showing people in West Yorkshire how far they believe the noise pollution will travel if the expansion is approved.
- 4PM – BRIGHTON: A march along Brighton seafront and then towards London will take place with a ‘Lightship called Greta’
- TRUST THE PEOPLE – UK-WIDE: XR said activists will ‘get together online, in parks, and maybe even in roads to talk, listen and connect beyond our bubbles’ and learn ‘how all of our intersecting crises are connected’.
- 12PM – MANCHESTER: A ‘Making History March’ from Manchester Cathedral will look at the city’s relationship with slavery and colonialism.
- BANKS AND FINANCE – UK-WIDE: Proters will be arguing that the ‘world of dirty finance should be taking a permanent ‘holiday’ from destructive dealings and propping-up polluters’.
- 11AM – BIRMINGHAM: A protest at 130 New Street will urge HSBC to ‘divest from these polluters’ and involve ‘theatrical action’ with members from XR Youth.
- 11AM – NORWICH: A ‘Drumming for Divestment’ march will ask banks and financial services companies to ‘Act Now and divest from fossil fuel investments, whether they be pension funds or other investment vehicles’/
- 1PM – CAMBRIDGE: Extinction Rebellion Cambridge invites every citizen to ‘flood the streets’ from Parker’s Piece and ‘join a colourful and dramatic oceanic themed march through Cambridge with music and drumming, where we will highlight the plight of the oceans and seas’.
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