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Thousands Of People In Australia Celebrated The Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras

More than 36,000 people took part in the 43rd annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday Mar. 6 in one of the world’s few Pride events that was allowed to go ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual parade, which usually sees more than 200,000 people parade down Oxford Street in the center of Sydneyโ€™s LGBTQ district, was instead held at the stadium as a ticketed event, with a capacity of 36,000.

A smaller march also took place at the original location after a public health exemption was granted last minute.

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Spectators enjoy the atmosphere from the stands during the 43rd Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 06, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

About 5,000 revellers dressed up in colorful costumes and paraded around the stadium, while crowds celebrated from their seats.

The theme this year was “Rise,” which organizers say was chosen after “the challenge and hardship” of the past yer, the BBC reported.

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A couple embrace during the 43rd Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 06, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)

The event finished with a performance by British singer Rita Ora, who said she was “a little bit emotional” as it was her first show in a very, very long time.

Organizers say the event almost did not go ahead and that it was “actually better than expectations we ever had,” the Guardian reported.

australia sydney mardi gras participants pose for photo
Parade participants pose during a press conference ahead of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 05, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Wendell Teodoro/WireImage)

Australia has had only about 29,000 coronavirus cases and 900 death throughout the pandemic, and the state of New South Wales has not had a local coronavirus transmission in 48 days.

Other ticketed Mardi Gras events and home parties were allowed to take place locally, limited up to 50 people, according to the BBC.

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