New South Wales, News

Mardi Gras festivities marred by arrests and violence

While most people enjoyed Saturday’s annual Mardi Gras Parade festivities in Sydney, the evening was disrupted by the arrest of “unauthorised” protesters.

Police removed the three protesters, members of activist group the Department of Homo Affairs, who stopped the parade in a demonstration against the Liberal Party float.

The protesters had joined the parade, carrying banners reading “The Liberal Team: Celebrating Invasion” and “Turn Back the Float, Wreck Their Endeavour”, in reference to the party’s immigration policies.

“The [Liberal Party] invade our celebration,” the Department of Homo Affairs posted on Twitter.

“They are an unauthorised entry at Mardi Gras and their endeavour to celebrate 250 years of white supremacy will be intercepted.”

The three were reportedly released without charge after being removed from the parade.

The incident has drawn renewed criticism of the presence of police at LGBTIQ events including Mardi Gras, which began in 1978 as a protest against police brutality against the community.

“Good on [the protesters],” tweeted activist Shane Bazzi.

“Solidarity. This is what Mardi Gras should be.

“Good to see a return to its radical protest roots. Fuck the pinkwashing.

“It’s disgraceful that the police arrested these protesters”

LGBTIQ advocate Johnny Valkyrie added that the Liberals were “not welcome”.

“The party developed the religious discrimination bill, is rife with queerphobia, and its economic policies harm LGBTQIA+ people,” he wrote.

New South Wales Police, seemingly ignorant of the context of the event, tweeted that they were “disappointed” the protesters “did not comply” with “the conditions of the event or the spirit of the celebrations”.

Despite the disruption, the parade was overwhelmingly a celebration of community, with the parade led by First Nations LGBTIQ people and the ‘78ers, those who were involved in the first Mardi Gras protest.

Further violence on Oxford Street occurred in the early hours of the morning after celebrations had ended.

Just hours after the Mardi Gras party, a man was stabbed outside the iconic Oxford Hotel.

Emergency services were called at around 7 am yesterday to assist a man with multiple stab wounds, has reported.

However, police stated that the incident was unrelated to Mardi Gras.

“We believe it was two homeless men fighting over something,” said a New South Wales Police spokesperson.

The injured man was treated at the scene before being transported to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

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