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Police presence for Big Gay Out

Wed 25 Jan 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

The AIDS Foundation says its not expecting any trouble at this year's sixth annual Big Gay Out celebration in Auckland next month, but it will be prepared. Last year's celebrations were marred by the presence of a small band of fundamentalist Christian protesters, one of whom knelt in front of the main stage holding a sign reading: "Jesus Christ Was Murdered For All Sins – Including Homos". Another group of five youths were eventually escorted off the premises by police late afternoon after their abusive epithets escalated to yelling "fucking faggots" at people attending the BGO. There will be a police presence at the gathering again this year. "We've been talking to them about possible strategies," says NZAF communications co-ordinator Steve Attwood. "Basically we're looking at ways and means of peacefully neutralising the impact of any such protest, should it occur. We actually think it had relatively minimal impact last year. Most people watched TV to find out that it happened." Attwood says he would welcome feedback from those planning to attend the gathering. "We would welcome people with an interest in this particular issue contacting us to help us work out some fun but useful strategies for dealing with the event if it came along."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 25th January 2006 - 12:00pm

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