• Police officers are seen during the 41st annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney. (AAP)Source: AAP
A protest to “take Mardi Gras back to its roots” emerges, following the recent decision not to exclude NSW police from future parades.
Keira Jenkins

8 Dec 2020 - 8:46 PM  UPDATED 9 Dec 2020 - 2:49 PM

A protest to “take Mardi Gras back to its roots” has emerged following the recent decision to continue to welcome NSW Police involvement in the annual pride march.

Indigenous activists have said say they will not give up the fight after a vote was held by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The vote at the organisation's annual general meeting saw 327 members in support of keeping police and correctional services in the parade, while 261 members voted to ban them from 2021 onwards.

Pride in Protest, which put forward the motion to ban police floats from future parades in recognition of Aboriginal deaths in custody and the Black Lives Matter Movement, have now launched a 'Take over Oxford Street' counter protest to coincide with next year's Mardi Gras.

Malyangapa and Barkindji man Keith Quayle said the close results of the vote tell him it will be "inevitable" for NSW Police to be eventually banned from the parade.

Mr Quayle said Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is "out of touch" for allowing the police to continue to participate, as the country becomes increasingly aware of the issue of Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

"I've been incarcerated and I've lost family members," Mr Quayle told NITV News.

"I think it would be very uncommon for any Aboriginal person not to be affected by deaths in custody."

Mr Quayle said the motion being voted down will not stop him for fighting for what he believes in and that he was organising the counter-protest, as part of Pride in Protest, "for the people", which will coincide with the Mardi Gras parade in 2021.

He said he hopes it will be a "party in a protest", keeping with the celebratory feeling of Mardi Gras, while also drawing attention to the shortcomings of the parade.

"In terms of a counter-protest we want to incorporate the celebration of Mardi Gras but particularly the element of protest in defying NSW Police in 1978 [the year of the first Mardi Gras in Sydney] and defying the government for not supporting us in the way that they should be," he said.

For Mr Quayle said he wanted the Black Lives Matter movement to be supported by the LGBQTI community as something more than just a hashtag.

"I think Aboriginal people, we've known all along but the non-Indigenous people are now just starting to get it that this is not just a USA issue, but this is an Australia issue, it's a Sydney issue, it's a local issue," he said.

"For me it's also an LGBQTI+ issue."

BLM advocates push for Police floats to be removed from Sydney Mardi Gras
A motion has been put forward to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to bar all police floats from future parades in recognition of Aboriginal deaths in custody and the Black Lives Matter Movement.