PM Anthony Albanese of Australia is the first to join the parade for Mardi Gras

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, one of the biggest events of its kind in the world, has welcomed Anthony Albanese, Australia's first sitting prime minister, as a participant.

More than 12,000 participants and 200 floats passed by in front of a crowded Oxford Street in the city.

Due to Covid restrictions, the parade is being held for the first time in its traditional format since 2019.

This is a celebration of contemporary Australia, according to Mr. Albanese.

He continued by saying it was "unfortunate" that he was the first president of the nation to march in the parade while in office. .

"People want to know that their government includes and stands up for everyone, regardless of who they love, what they identify as, or where they live. ".

Participants in the 2023 Sydney Gay andamp; Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
Sydney's Mardi Gras is being celebrated as a parade for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

A participant in the festivities was Penny Wong, the first openly gay woman in the Australian parliament.

The prime minister's presence, who has previously marched in the parade as a member of parliament, was applauded, but his detractors have charged that he is caving in to a minority that is reshaping Australia's social agenda.

Barnaby Joyce, a member of the opposition, criticized Mr. Albanese for attending a party rather than attending to a crime crisis in Alice Springs, a remote community in Australia's Northern Territory.

Mardi Gras attendees from other political parties, such as the Greens and Liberals, joined Mr. Albanese in showing their support.

A participant of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney
This year's Mardi Gras parade featured thousands of participants.

The Australian prime minister has previously attended the protest; in 2016, Malcolm Turnbull was there but did not march.

The Stonewall Riots, a more than 50-year-old uprising by members of the LGBT community in New York, inspired the creation of the Mardi Gras parade, which has been held every year since 1978.

Due to the pandemic, the parade has been held as a seated event at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the past two years.

Sydney's celebration of LGBTQ rights this year takes place at the same time as WorldPride.

Other world leaders who have participated in pride parades in the past include the former prime ministers of New Zealand and Canada, Justin Trudeau and Jacinda Ardern.

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