Senator Lidia Thorpe ‘moved on’ from Mardi Gras march by police

Federal senator Lidia Thorpe stood in the way of an Australian Federal Police officer with her arms spread wide at Sydney’s Mardi Gras on Saturday night before she laid on the ground in front of a float, temporarily halting the parade until she was removed by police.

In videos of the incident, shared on social media, the independent senator could be seen walking backwards in front of an AFP officer on Oxford Street and holding her arms out to her sides, as the officer seemingly ignored her and continued to wave a rainbow flag.

Lidia Thorpe stands in the way of an AFP officer with her arms spread wide.

Youtube/William Brougham

She then laid in front of a float when the parade moved onto Flinders Street in Darlinghurst at about 9pm. It is understood the float she halted was operated by Twenty10, an organisation offering support to LGBTQIA+ youth.

Two NSW police officers approached Thorpe as the crowd began to boo, with one person chanting “get rid of her”.

Lidia Thorpe is removed by police after protesting during the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

Nikki Short

Thorpe then got to her feet after speaking with police and a Mardi Gras photographer.

In a statement, NSW Police said a woman lay in front of a Mardi Gras float at about 9pm on Saturday, “momentarily preventing the progress of the parade”.

“She was later removed from the parade at the request of organisers for breaching the terms of her participation,” a police spokesperson said.

Senator Lidia Thorpe lying on the street and temporarily halting the Sydney Mardi Gras parade.

Twitter: @AlexDay96

Immediately before the parade, Thorpe gave a speech in nearby Hyde Park in which she said Mardi Gras had been “f—ing corporatised”.

“The Aboriginal f—ing industry is exactly the same,” she said. “What you’re dealing with out there is no different to what we are dealing with, with the Voice and everybody who says they speak for us.

“I feel like they’re assimilating you into the same thing they’re trying to assimilate us into, and we have to stick together.”

Thorpe was marching in the “No Pride in Genocide” float, organised by Pride in Protest. She tweeted on Sunday morning that she was “proud to have joined the Pride in Protest float” to protest genocide, prisons, and the participation of police in the pride march.

“Black and brown trans women started the first pride march as a protest against police violence. Today, we still face violence from police,” she said.

Thorpe split from the Greens earlier this month after a long-running dispute over the Voice to parliament referendum and moved to the crossbench. Greens leader Adam Bandt said at the time her defection was necessary to speak freely on issues and lead a black sovereignty movement in Australia.

A spokesman for Sydney Mardi Gras confirmed the parade had been interrupted by Thorpe as she attempted to stage a protest.

“While we respect the individual’s right to protest, interrupting the parade in this way has significant implications for the safety of our participants and audience,” the spokesman said.

Thorpe’s office has been contacted for comment.

Mardi Gras celebrations continued on Sunday with dance parties in Surry Hills and at the Domain. World Pride events continue until March 5.

With AAP


A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the float stopped by Lidia Thorpe was part of the NSW Police procession. The float was operated by a youth services organisation.

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