Notting Hill Carnival 2017: Grenfell Tower ceremony to open festival as police on high security alert

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The victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy will be remembered at the Notting Hill Carnival today as police boost security in the wake of terror attacks across the UK and Europe.

Concrete blocks, steel barriers and weapons checks will be rolled out as part of the intense security operation across the two-day west London festival in a bid to protect its one million revellers from a Barcelona-style terror attack.

Acid attacks will also be the focus of the Met’s policing at the event, with checks for corrosive substances and officers stationed around the perimeter of the carnival zone.

They also plan to use facial recognition technology, which will help the force spot those thought to be likely to cause trouble.

Police officers arrive on Shrewsbury Road on the final day of the Notting Hill Carnival last year. (PA)

This year’s carnival will take place in the shadow of the burnt-out Grenfell Tower, which was destroyed in the June 14 blaze which killed dozens of people.

At 9.15am, the carnival will open with multi-faith prayers and the release of doves.

Police watch over the crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival at the 2016 event. (Reuters)

Hundreds of hand-drawn tributes, flowers and candles laid in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire will be protected by fencing, while a “ring of care” will be formed around the tower by police officers to protect the Lancaster West estate from the hundreds of thousands of passing carnival-goers.

Local MP Emma Dent Coad, who has said the carnival is needed this year more than ever, will give a speech on Sunday morning as the celebration opens with a multi-faith prayer and release of doves in remembrance of the dead.

Performers passing the blackened high-rise have been encouraged to lower their music volume and walk respectfully in memory of those who died in the inferno.

At 3pm on both days hundreds of thousands of revellers along the route are expected to pause and observe a minute’s silence to mark the tragedy, in which at least 80 people died.

Organisers are encouraging attendees to wear or accessorise in “green for Grenfell” in a display of “reverence and respect amidst the revelry”.

There will be a reflection zone near the tower and posters have been put up asking the public not to take photographs “at the site of our great loss” – an activity which has distressed locals since the fire two months ago.

Police said a dedicated area would be put in place for people to leave tributes without obstructing the carnival flow.

According to the Met, there is no specific counter-terrorism intelligence but security plans had been “thoroughly reviewed” following the attack in Barcelona earlier this month, in which 15 people died after being hit by a van.

Overall policing numbers will stay the same as last year, with around six to seven thousand officers on duty each day.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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