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Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Refugee Banner banned from Sydney Mardi Gras parade

Source: SX News

GLBT activists were told they could not take place in the Mardi Gras Parade because their banner was “too political”.

Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) had intended to head their entry with a banner that read ‘Free Ali Humayun’.

Ali Humayun is a gay refugee from Pakistan who has been detained in Villawood for the past three years. CAAH, which has been assisting Humayun in his case against deportation, said they were “shocked” at New Mardi Gras’ response to the banner.

“They said ‘take it [the banner] down from the truck’, so we did,” Rachel Evans, spokesperson for CAAH, told SX. “We thought maybe we could carry it but we were told if we marched with the banner CAAH would never be allowed to march at Mardi Gras again.

They said the order came from the head of New Mardi Gras.” New Mardi Gras general manager Anna McInerney told SX: “If the entry falls outside the guidelines then we reserve the right to refuse an entry.”

However, New Mardi Gras is conducting an investigation into CAAH’s claims.

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