SYDNEY, March 2 — Sydney’s usually boisterous Mardi Gras parade will take place under a sombre shadow today, after the grisly killing of a gay couple tested relations between police and the LGBTQ community.

Organisers have asked uniformed police not to participate in the city’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade after an officer was charged with the double murder of a TV presenter and his flight attendant boyfriend.

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

A 28-year-old serving police constable who had previously been in a relationship with Baird has been charged with two counts of murder.

Advertisement

Police allege the killings were “of a domestic nature” and not a “gay-hate crime”. But activists had demanded police be barred from the event — although a last-minute compromise means police attending the event will instead march in plain clothes.

Organisers are planning a moment of silence, with the parade coming to a halt in a collective act of remembrance.

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

Advertisement

Uniformed police have participated in Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade for the last 20 years, a far cry from the days when officers would violently break up gay pride marches.

But tensions remain. yesterday, a small number of protestors tussled with officers near the parade route, prompting a local member of parliament to call for calm. — AFP