The police operation for the 43rd annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade has concluded.
A high-visibility operation was launched across the operation footprint which included Moore Park, Oxford Street, Hyde Park and public transport routes to and from the area.
Due to COVID-19, the traditional Mardi Gras parade was replaced by a ticketed, COVID-safe event within the Sydney Cricket Stadium (SCG) at Moore Park today (Saturday 6 March 2021). This ensured COVID-safe protocols could be adhered to, including contact tracing and social distancing.
The focus of the police operation was to monitor for compliance with current Public Health Orders and the safety of all participants and spectators. This involved general duties officers, assisted by specialist units, including the Public Order and Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Dog and Mounted Unit, PolAir, Licensing Police, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and Police Transport Command.
Mardi Gras 2021 Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Gelina Talbot, said she was pleased that the community was able to “rise” together and celebrate this year.
“We knew Mardi Gras was going to look very different in 2021, so I’d like to thank the community for coming together today and celebrating peacefully and safely,” Assistant Commissioner Talbot said.
“We are in a unique position in Australia to be able to host events of this scale during a global health pandemic, and I commend the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras team for planning such a well-organised, COVID-safe event.”
As part of the operation, police were targeting anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and conducted numerous licensing inspections within the footprint.
Of note, just before 8pm, officers arrested four people within the SCG after they entered the pitch during the parade. They were removed from the premises and received a $165 fine each for climb/jump over fences/seats etc on lands without approval.
“The main issue for police was preventing anti-social behaviour and ensuring COVID-19 safety protocols were maintained,” Assistant Commissioner Talbot said.
“While I’m pleased the majority of those who attended and enjoyed the festivities celebrated responsibly, it is very disappointing one group decided to attempt to disrupt the parade.”
As celebrations continue into the night and tomorrow, police are reminding the community to take responsibility for your actions, look after your friends and drink in moderation to celebrate Mardi Gras in a COVID-safe manner.