Carnival revellers observe a minute's silence to commemorate the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy on the main Parade day of the Notting Hill Carnival in west London on August 28, 2017. (AFP PHOTO/ Tolga AKMEN)
LONDON, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Sound systems were turned off and the festivities stopped for a minute's silence during the Notting Hill carnival this year, while hundreds of thousands of visitors and local residents paid tributes Monday to the victims of Grenfell tower which stands just a kilometer away.
The procession was paused to remember those who died in the fire in June. Outside North Kensington fire station, firefighters lined up, removed their helmets and bowed their heads.
Some people wore green clothes and handmade green hearts and streamers could be seen along the streets, after a campaign encouraging people to wear "green for Grenfell."
Posters have been put up at spots where the blackened high-rise can be seen, asking people not to take photos at "the site of our great loss." In a quiet reflection zone, performers are encouraged to turn down their music and walk respectfully.
Samantha, a mother from east London, took her 11-year-old son and 3-year daughter to the carnival.
"My family participate the carnival every year. My boy and girl are parade dancers and they love to do that. We know this year there is something special. A special moment for the people who died in the horrible fire. I want my children to know about the tragedy and I think they can understand it," she told Xinhua.
Photo taken on June 16, 2017 shows a view of Grenfell Tower after the fire in London, Britain. (Xinhua/Ray Tang)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to redouble efforts to support the community and "make sure those responsible are held to account" to ensure such a disaster "never, ever happens again."
He told the crowd on Sunday that although the 51st carnival took place in a "context of sadness and sorrow," it was a celebration of London's diversity.
The annual Notting Hill carnival kicked off on the streets of west London on Sunday with the Family Day parade. Rooted in celebrating Afro-Caribbean culture and community cohesion, the two-day event, also Europe's biggest street party, is expected to attract over a million people this year.
A heavy police presence marked the carnival route, with steel barricades and concrete blocks set up to prevent a terror incident, as well as acid attacks.
London police said there were 122 arrests on the first day of the carnival, a fall of about 20 percent from last year. The London Ambulance Service said it had treated 344 patients, many for alcohol-related issues.