Sydney Mardi Gras honours killed gay couple

Connie Queline

Sydney Mardi Gras honours killed gay couple

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A moment’s silence has been held in Australia at Sydney’s annual Mardi Gras Pride a week after a police officer was charged with murdering a gay couple.

The bodies of journalist Jesse Baird, 26, and Qantas flight attendant Luke Davies, 29, were found on Tuesday at a rural property outside Sydney.

Beaumont Lamarre-Condon has been charged with two counts of murder.

Mardi Gras organisers wanted no police at the event, but after negotiations plain-clothed officers were allowed.

The parade came to a halt on Saturday in a collective act of remembrance for Mr Baird and Mr Davies.

It was described as a “chance to collectively reflect on the lives of Jesse and Luke and to stand together in solidarity”.

Qantas, Mr Davies’ former employer, paid tribute on its parade float in honour of the former cabin crew member.

More than 12,000 people are expected to march in the parade

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Gil Beckwith, chief executive of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, said the theme for this year’s parade is “Our Future” – with an acknowledgement of the past and how far the community has come in the last few decades.

Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade has a complex history of both LGBT activism and police brutality, after the first march in 1978 resulted in dozens of people being beaten and arrested by local officers.

Now seen as a historic act of defiance, the events that day paved the way for Australia’s modern LGBT rights movement, as well as reforms to homophobic laws and police practices.

Floral tributes are seen at the Paddington residence of Jesse Baird in Paddington, Sydney

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Uniformed police have participated in Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade for the last two decades, but this year’s organisers said the decision to ban officers was essential to create a safe environment “to protest, celebrate” and “honour and grieve those we’ve lost”.

Police allege the killings were “of a domestic nature” and not a “gay-hate crime”.

Mr Lamarre-Condon, a New South Wales Police senior constable, was charged on 23 February with murdering Mr Davies and Mr Baird, allegedly with his police-issue handgun.

The 28-year-old, who once dated Mr Baird, is yet to enter a plea.

Related Topics

  • Pride
  • Sydney
  • LGBT
  • Australia

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