New Mardi Gras has rejected threats of a 5,000-strong blockade at next year’s parade, saying the plans for an anti-gay protest underline the importance of the iconic Oxford Street event.
Construction union the CFMEU contacted New Mardi Gras last week after being approached repeatedly by Sydney man Gary Duncan, who claims he is planning the blockade.
Duncan told Sydney Star Observer he was a former CFMEU member who was contacting everybody about the blockade and wanted 5,000 people to take part.
We’re going to blockade the Mardi Gras parade to stop it from taking place, Duncan said.
Asked why he wanted to stop the Oxford Street parade, Duncan referred the Star to an email he had written about his plans.
The email said reasons for the blockade included intervention in child abuse which is being instigated and committed to the mardi gras [sic] parade, therefore we are obligated to intervene according to state and federal law.
It also claims Sydneys [sic] destruction is pending according to Gods [sic] laws as in Sodom.
Duncan said he had recruited two other people for the blockade. He claimed he had protested by himself at two Mardi Gras parades in the past but failed to achieve anything.
Duncan also claimed he was a member of the Christian Democratic Party, led by Fred Nile, the ultra-conservative NSW politician who has organised past Mardi Gras parade protests. But he said the political party was not behind his current plans.
New Mardi Gras chair Marcus Bourget said Duncan’s plan was disappointing but highlighted the gay and lesbian parade’s educational role.
It’s really disappointing that kind of intolerance exists in our community, Bourget told the Star.
It reaffirms the importance of Mardi Gras and the parade. It makes us more determined and shows the importance of the parade when you’ve still got this kind of attitude in Australia.
Bourget said New Mardi Gras was taking Duncan’s blockade plans seriously in relation to security arrangements.
We will obviously be making sure that all the relevant authorities are made aware of the email and we’ll be working with them to ensure the parade goes off without incident.
The CFMEU stressed it did not support Duncan’s plans and had no involvement with them.
We don’t support it in any way and are definitely not taking part, spokesperson Tim Vollmer said.