Sydney Mardi Gras Parade goes ahead amid COVID pandemic

Sydney’s annual iconic Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras went ahead on Saturday amid COVID pandemic.

NSW Health officials agreed to make an exception to the 500-person limit on public gatherings after organizers agreed to enhanced contact-tracing processes.

This year’s theme was ‘Rise’ and centered on the message that love, compassion, respect and understanding can help make the world a better place.

“Our community understands the pain many people have gone through and stands alongside them in support. We know and love the power of people and communities that rise together to support others to overcome adversity and inequality. It’s time we rise together again.”

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However, there was a different format due to coronavirus restrictions in place at the moment.

Rather than going on the traditional route down Oxford Street where the Mardi Gras has been held for the past 43 years, the event took place at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

At SCG, people could socially distance themselves in their seats and up to 23,000 spectators were allowed in the stands.

Singers Rita Ora and G Flip were two of the main stars performing at this year’s event.

The performers were on the pitch and the Mardi Gras focused on the pageantry of costumes.

The Dykes on Bikes opened the Mardi Gras parade on their motorcycles.

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Numerous groups walked in front of the seated revelers.

The marchers also protested on various issues including transphobia and detention of asylum-seekers.