Sydney Mardi Gras: Thousands turn out for festival

Participants enjoy the 38th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Australia, 05 March 2016. Image copyright EPA

Thousands of people have turned out in Sydney for the city's annual Mardi Gras, including, for the first time, Australia's prime minister.

The event, one of the largest gay and lesbian parades in the world, attracted more than 12,000 participants.

It takes place as campaigners are fighting to get Australian leaders to legalise same-sex marriage.

PM Malcolm Turnbull, who attended the event but did not march, backs a public plebiscite on the issue.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Most Australians support same-sex marriage, a new poll shows
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Saturday's event was Sydney's 38th Mardi Gras
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This year's event took place with a political backdrop

Bill Shorten, the head of the opposition Labor Party, who did march in Sydney, has promised to introduce a same-sex marriage bill within 100 days if his party is elected.

One poll released this week showed that while a majority of Australians think same-sex marriage should be introduced, one in five consider it "immoral".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Former Olympians and Paralympians were among those who took part
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The event began as a civil rights movement against discrimination in 1978
Image copyright EPA
Image caption As well as 12,000 participants, some 500,000 spectators were expected

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