Police have praised the tens of thousands of revellers at Saturday’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade for their good behaviour, with only a small number of incidents occurring.

Around 10,000 took part in the parade, which was watched, organisers say, by some 300,000.

This year’s festival attracted large numbers of people to the area surrounding Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, and operation commander, Assistant Commissioner Catherine Burn, said most of them had displayed outstanding behaviour. “Tens of thousands of people gathered in Sydney to watch the parade with very few incidents at this time, and I praise the event organisers for their excellent planning.

“The officers who marched in the parade said they received a very positive response from the crowd and enjoyed themselves immensely,” she added.

While the parade itself was virtually incident-free, police said that they were disappointed by a number of incidents, mostly alcohol-related, occurring in the Hyde Park area in the early hours of Sunday following the parade.

“Most people appear to have come along and have a good time without breaking the law, but I am disappointed by a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime that occurred in Hyde Park and the surrounding area several hours after the parade,” AC Burn admitted.

These included a bottle being thrown at a mounted police officer, causing her to fall from her horse. She was taken to hospital as a precaution. A man was arrested immediately and is assisting with inquiries, as is a youth after an alleged attempt was made to set fire to a police horse’s tail.

Police were also forced to break up a number of brawls in the park and nearby streets with numerous people arrested for various offences including assault, assault police, robbery, throw missile and offensive behaviour. A number of those arrested were under 18.

All people were dispersed from the park by police about 1am to prevent further incidents occurring.

All told, more than 25 people were arrested, most of them in relation to incidents in the Hyde Park area in the early hours of Sunday.

UK Gay News

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