07:58 | 24th April 2019

News: World

Fri 26 Feb, 2010
By Danielle Carter

It usually attracts more than 100,000 spectators and this year there will be 9500 performers taking part in the parade.

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Bin Laden to come out at Mardi Gras

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Osama Bin Laden is set to come out of the cave for the 2010 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney.

The theme of Saturday night's parade is History of the World, showcasing gay history and shining a pink spotlight on some colourful historical figures and events.

Osama Bin Laden and NSW Labor Party zombies are among the weird and wonderful characters who will march up Oxford St.

Drag Queen Victoria, Australia's first gay Rugby Union club and a Michael Jackson thriller zombie marching group will also feature.

For the first time a transsexual - model and performer Amanda Lepore - will lead the parade.

"We have chosen (her) because she really exemplifies the notion that being utterly yourself and going out there and being visible is the best way to breed out prejudice," Mardi Gras spokesman Damien Eames told AAP.

Now in its 32nd year, the Mardi Gras parade started out as a protest march for gay rights in 1978.

It usually attracts more than 100,000 spectators and this year there will be 9500 performers taking part in the parade.

"It's such a mixed bag of people ... it is people having fun and trying to put on a bit of a show, so of course it is all out there, but that is the point of it," Mr Eames said.

"But those people are probably much quieter and more everyday and mundane the morning after the parade."

Last year the parade was marred by violence, with five stabbings and 36 assaults, with police blaming drunken troublemakers not associated with the parade for sparking much of the violence.

This year there will be extra police on the streets and the starting point of the parade has been changed to help combat the problem.

The parade will now start on Wentworth Avenue rather, than Hyde Park where much of the violence occurred last year.

Seven ambulance crews, three rapid response paramedics and one motorcycle paramedic will be positioned along the parade route.

The NSW Ambulance Service advises spectators and participants to drink in moderation, avoid taking drugs and to look out for friends.

Spectators are advised to arrive at Oxford St early to get a good view of the parade, which kicks off at 7.45pm (AEDT).

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a fine day on Saturday with a maximum temperature of 28 degrees.

Source: 9 News


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