Saturday, 1 March 2008

Massive crowds expected for Mardi Gras

Our Freedom Your Freedom

Organisers say tonight's gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney will be the biggest in the 30-year history of the event.

Almost 10,000 people will head up Oxford Street on 150 floats tonight, three decades after the original protest march for gay rights.

Organisers are expecting more than 300,000 people to watch tonight's parade.

The head of New Mardi Gras, Marcus Bourget, says a lot has been achieved since 1978.

"Mardi Gras has had its fair share of ups and downs so to achieve the 30th anniversary is a huge milestone for us," he said.

Mr Bourget says the modern Mardi Gras retains much of its original political message.

"Mardi Gras is all about the festival and it's all about telling Australia our stories, our lives, and showing Australia that our love is not a second class love and shouldn't be treated as such," he said.

"So it's all about compassion, understanding and acceptance, so I think they're universal values."

Among the marchers tonight will be gay and lesbian military personnel, who for the first time have the military approval to march.

Chief Petty Officer Stuart O'Brien will be one of them.

"I think it's an important step forward for the Defence Force in recognition of the wider community that we actually recruit from," he said.

Military Force

Hopefully the military and our political leaders will learn from their mistakes, change what they do, and start helping people instead of killing people. A Humanitarian Force can defend itself just as easily as a military force can. Australia should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan now. War is a deadly 'Meme' and one of the root causes of domestic violence.

But the best rule of thumb is to challenge these deadly Memes wherever you see them and not those who follow them....



CityRail is adding extra train services in and around the CBD to cope with the Mardi Gras crowds, with a direct shuttle between Bondi and Central from 6:00pm AEDT to 1:00am.

Museum Station on the city circle will be closed this evening between 6:00 and 10:00.

Sydney Buses will run extra services on major routes to and from the city from 4:00pm.

Politics and partying on Sydney's gayest

MARDI GRAS has put violence against gays and lesbians at the forefront of its political agenda, asking the two men who were bashed while walking hand-in-hand in Darlinghurst three months ago to lead tonight's 30th anniversary parade.While it will be, as always, a celebration of all things gay and lesbian, ongoing discrimination is never far from participants' minds, and community groups have warned the spike in homophobic violence that occurs during Mardi Gras will be as bad as ever this year.

Surry Hills police came under sustained criticism over their investigation of the violent crime - an internal investigation and a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman followed.

Meanwhile, in the Mardi Gras workshop in Rosebery, in homes citywide, and in the iconic House of Priscilla costume store on Oxford Street, final touches are being made to floats and outfits.

No comments: