An activist group wants police banned from marching in next year’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade, but the proposal is likely to fail.
An activist group wants police banned from marching in next year’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade, but the proposal is likely to fail.

Call to ban cops from Mardi Gras

An activist group will put forward a proposal to have police and corrective services banned from marching in next year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Board members will vote on the motion, which has been put forward by Pride in Protest, an activist group fighting for recognition of First Nation communities.

A statement from the group said members will be "casting their vote on motions calling for the removal of police and corrective services from the parade and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement".

"These motions are in recognition of the ongoing violence perpetrated by police and corrective services towards First Nations communities," the group claims.

"Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 441 Indigenous people have died in custody, including Veronica Baxter, a trans woman who died in a male prison, being arrested only three days after the 2009 Mardi Gras."

 

The group said the vote came after a letter containing more than 1000 signatures - some from Indigenous elders, artists and speakers - was handed to the Mardi Gras board, asking them to remove police and corrective services.

A Mardi Gras spokesperson told NCA NewsWire that similar motions were outvoted at previous AGMs. It is understood the board opposes all the motions submitted by the activist group to this year's AGM.

Qantas was also slammed in the statement for its role in "deporting refugees and asylum seekers back to danger on behalf of the Australian government", the statement read.

"As an organisation and event rooted in human rights, Mardi Gras would be taking a stand in solidarity with refugee rights and criticising Qantas' participation in human rights abuses against refugees and asylum seekers, particularly deporting LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers back to countries where homosexuality is criminalised."

NSW Police has participated in the Mardi Gras celebrations since 1996 and will continue to do so, according to a statement from the force.

NSW Police has participated in the event since 1996. Picture: James Gourley/AAP
NSW Police has participated in the event since 1996. Picture: James Gourley/AAP

"We acknowledge our history, and therefore the importance of working closely with the community and in participating in the Mardi Gras Festival, to reduce barriers to reporting crime and to publicly and proudly state our support for the LGBTIQ community," a statement read.

It also highlighted that police were dedicated to addressing crime experienced by the LGBTIQ community.

Due to the coronavirus crisis the annual parade will take place at the SCG on March 6.

Up to 5000 people are expected to march, while the stands may be full given Premier Gladys Berejiklian has given the green light to increase capacity at stadiums from Monday.

The event will be ticketed and space will be prioritised for sponsors, which has sparked outrage from the community.

Originally published as Call to ban cops from Mardi Gras

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