A shooting incident after the first day of Manchester Caribbean Carnival failed to stop thousands of people enjoying the second day of the 46-year-old event.
The event in Alexandra Park in Moss Side on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August was agreed by visitors, police, organisers and councillors to have been happy, peaceful and successful. The theme was ‘Windrush Bacchanal – Celebrating 70 years of the Empire Windrush’.
Local residents and carnival-goers were shocked when at 2.30am on Sunday shots were fired at revellers at a street party, injuring 10 people, including two children. A man with a broken leg was reported to be in a serious condition. It seems that an unknown lone gunman fired pellets at the victims’ legs. Police are treating the shooting as attempted murder.
Caribbean Carnival chairman Mike Bisson emphasised: “Whatever happened outside has no connection to the carnival… The spirit of Carnival is dance, music, vibrancy and well-behaved people enjoying themselves.”
The incident has infuriated locals who feel it has unearthed dark memories of Moss Side’s former reputation for drug-fuelled violence. Local politicians and community leaders were keen to distance the attack from the carnival and normal life in the area.
Deputy Mayor Beverley Hughes said: “I think the carnival, as well as being two days of intense enjoyment for the community, is a really important statement about where that community has come.”
The usual response of the Metropolitan Police and politicians in London to an incident of this sort at Notting Hill Carnival is to demand the event be banned or severely restricted. By contrast, their counterparts in Manchester appear to understand that violence is not endemic to the culture.
Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry, of Great Manchester Police, said: “Yesterday had been a great day for the community with over 16,000 people attending the Caribbean Carnival where no arrests were made. The vast majority of people living in Moss Side are law-abiding, community-spirited residents and I don’t want this incident to cast a shadow on what was a wonderful day.” Local councillors urged people to attend the second day of the event.
Manchester Caribbean Carnival started in 1972 when a small group of people, mostly from St Kits & Nevis and Trinidad, took part in a carnival procession through their local streets.