BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 6 July, 2002, 21:12 GMT 22:12 UK
Coming out for 30th Mardi Gras
London's Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras: One of London's most colourful events
Thousands of gay and lesbians converged on London's Hackney Marshes on Saturday for a party to celebrate the 30th annual Mardi Gras.

One of the key speakers was gay Lambeth police commander Brian Paddick, who took a "softly softly" approach to cannabis.

He thanked people for their support after allegations about his private life led to him losing his post and being moved to an office job in the Metropolitan police.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone used his speech to call for the reinstatement of Mr Paddick.


We have made a lot of progress in the last 20 years and we have got a lot more to make in the next 20 years

Mo Mowlam, Former Northern Ireland Secretary
Addressing the crowd, Mr Paddick said: "I just wanted to come along this afternoon to thank everyone who has supported me, for all the e-mails of support.

"Thanks very much for your support.

"I also know how difficult it is to get a fair and honest account of the facts into the media.

"I am going to keep fighting."

He then thanked Mr Livingstone for his support.

Despite some booing when the London Mayor first took to the stage, the crowd changed its approach when he voiced his support for the commander.

Changing attitudes

He said: "I am proud to follow Brian Paddick on stage.

"A lot of us get stick from the press and he got more stick than most, not just that he is gay but he is the first commander in Lambeth to win the support of the black community."

Mr Livingstone said he hoped next year's Mardi Gras could be held in Hyde Park, with the permission of the Royal Parks.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam received huge cheers as she appeared on stage and threw apples into the crowd.

She said the march had been "fantastic".

She said: "We have made a lot of progress in the last 20 years and we have got a lot more to make in the next 20 years, but one thing we mustn't forget is that we have got to change attitudes if we are going to get equality for everyone."

The Pride Parade set off from Hyde Park Corner at midday, following a route through central London to Westminster and the Houses Of Parliament.

The entertainment kicked off on east London's Hackney Marshes at 1500 BST with music from bands including Suede, Westlife, Atomic Kitten, Lulu and a1.

London's Mardi Gras

Belinda Carlisle, H and Claire and 80s pop group Five Star also took to the stage.

Peter Tatchell, a member of the Gay Liberation Front who helped organise the first Pride march on 1 July 1972, said the first event had caused a stir.

"The police were very aggressive. It was quite scary.

"The public reaction was a mix of curiosity and bewilderment. Most had never knowingly seen a gay person, let alone hundreds of queers marching to demand human rights," he said.

Mr Tatchell said it was "wonderful" to see how the event had grown from one march of about 700 people, to 10 nationwide festivals with a combined attendance of 250,000.

See also:

01 Jul 00 | Entertainment
30 Jun 02 | In Depth
02 Jun 02 | Americas
03 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes