Police Banned From Sydney Mardi Gras After Gay Couple Murder Case

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Police banned from Sydney Mardi Gras

Aussies Divided over Police Exclusion

The choice to exclude police from Sydney’s iconic Mardi Gras parade this weekend has sparked division across Australia. Organizers stated the decision was made to provide the LGBT community with “a space to mourn,” following charges laid against a New South Wales police officer for the murder of a gay couple last week.

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Historically a hotspot for police violence against gay activists, the parade has long been seen as a unifying event.

NSW Police Express Disappointment

New South Wales Police expressed their disappointment regarding the outcome. The involvement of the force in the parade has been questioned after Officer Beaumont Lamarre-Condon allegedly murdered Jesse Baird – whom he had previously dated – and his partner, Luke Davies, last Monday.

The parade committee emphasized that the decision to exclude the police, who have been participating in the annual march for over two decades, was made with heavy hearts. They stated it was critical to ensure a safe environment “to protest, celebrate,” and “honor and mourn” the lost.

Historical Context of Sydney’s Mardi Gras

Sydney’s Mardi Gras Parade has a tumultuous history of LGBT activism and police brutality, stemming from the first march in 1978, which resulted in dozens being beaten and arrested by local police.

Now viewed as a historic act of defiance, the events of that day have paved the way for the modern Australian LGBT rights movement and reforms in homophobic laws and police practices.

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Police Commissioner Responds to Backlash

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb mentioned she was meeting with the parade committee to discuss how the decision – sparking fierce online debate – could “harm the police, especially members of the gay and lesbian community.”

She labeled the exclusion of the police from this weekend’s event as a “farce,” describing Mr. Lamarre-Condon’s alleged crime as one of “passion” rather than “gay-related hate.”

Government and Activists React

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese noted that while relations between Sydney’s LGBT community and the police have improved since 1978, he understands that people are “mourning what is a huge tragedy.”

State parliament’s openly gay MP, Alex Greenwich, urged the board to reconsider their decision. He told Nine News that while the police must build community trust, “I believe this starts by working together, not excluding the police from Mardi Gras.”

However, Pride in Protest, a long-standing activist group advocating for the removal of New South Wales police from the event, hailed the decision as a victory for the LGBT community.

“The relationship between the police and the community is at an all-time low, and there is no trust in them,” said spokesperson Charlie Murphy to the Australian Associated Press.

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