Mardi Gras furious after NSW Police booted 78er from Parade venue


sydney gay and lesbian mardi gras 2022 parade nsw police
Image: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

The head of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has said he’s “appalled and angry” that NSW Police ejected a 78er spectator from last weekend’s Parade because of her pro-Ukraine poster.

The 2022 Mardi Gras Parade returned to the Sydney Cricket Ground last Saturday night.

Barbara Karpinski was seated in the stands as a spectator on the night. She was one of the original Mardi Gras marchers in 1978.

During the event, she briefly held up a handmade poster she had made in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

The poster featured peace signs and called for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, during the event Karpinski was approached in the stands by a police officer who confiscated her poster.

Shortly afterward, the police returned and escorted Karpinski out of the SCG and banned her from re-entering.

Police officer ‘had no right to act this way’

Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger has apologised to Karpinski for the “appalling” incident. He said the officer involved “unjustly” ejected the 78er from the venue for her poster and “did not follow protocol.”

“We are appalled and angry that this incident took place,” Kruger said.

“The police officer involved did not follow protocol and had no right to act in this way.

“The actions of this officer have not only violated the sacred space we create for self-expression, but it has also unravelled a lot of work that has gone into building a better relationship between the LGBTQIA+ community and NSW Police.

“We share in the upset that our 78er felt at having been unjustly ejected by Police.

“We also share the community’s anger that something like this could happen in a place where our community should feel safe to express their views.

“We’d like to express our deepest apologies to the 78er involved and extend that to all 78ers and the wider LGBTQIA+ community.”

‘Goes against everything Mardi Gras stands for’

In the statement, Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said the spirit of protest remains “at the heart of Mardi Gras”.

“We take pride in providing a safe space for our community to share messages of love and protest,” he said.

“The actions of this officer go against everything Mardi Gras stands for.”

Kruger said under New South Wales law, every large-scale event in the state requires a police presence, including Mardi Gras.

But he added, “We will not tolerate actions like this that jeopardise the safety of our community.”

He said he understands NSW Police is “taking this incident seriously” and the force has also launched an internal investigation.

“We will continue working with NSW Police to implement more stringent protocols and operational systems to ensure something like this never happens again,” he said.

“We’ve expressed these sentiments along with our severe disappointment to NSW Police.”

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2 Comments

  1. Peter Turner
    11 March 2022
    Reply

    At a time when we are trying to forge a closer relationship with Police forces in all States it is appalling that this happened to anyone, ley alone a 78er.

    Police, including the officer concerned, must issue an unconditional apology and compensation.

    This serves as a reminder that, although all the right noises are being made in public statements, we have an awfully long way to go for tolerance among the rank and file.

  2. julain Gallimore
    11 March 2022
    Reply

    We can never trust the Australian police. Buy the Australian film: RIOT about NSW police officer’s bashing GAY human beings. True Fact ️‍⚖️

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