Peace prevails at MardiGrass

Despite the hype leading up to this years MardiGrass and talks of a riot, peace prevailed over the weekend, with police praising the behaviour of festival goers.

Around 60 officers, including six mounted police and a riot squad, were deployed to Nimbin over the two-day festival. Eleven people in the village were found with cannabis while 93 others were detected with cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines on the roads leading into Nimbin. A number of others were arrested for drink driving, assault and traffic infringements, and a man was found dead in the Goolmangar creek. Police say the circumstances are not suspicious but police are yet to release details of the cause of death.

The main reason that many police were deployed is because our local police had been receiving threats that they would be targeted during MardiGrass, said Superintendent Bruce Lyons from the Richmond Local Area Command. We were there to prevent anti-social behaviour but generally speaking the great majority of the crowd behaved in an orderly fashion. A couple of police did get assaulted in the early hours of one morning, but I attribute that to alcohol.

MardiGrass organiser Michael Balderstone said while numbers were down this year the high police presence did little to dampen the spirits of those who visited Nimbin.

Everyone had a fantastic time as usual, but the police numbers did surprise us, Michael said. There were some stories of police being forceful, but there were even more stories of the police being courteous, despite copping a fair bit of flak from some of the crowd. I think the fact that no violence broke out is testament to the fact that pot doesnt breed aggression and in essence we are a peace-loving community. We just wish the money spent on those police had been put to something more useful, like paying for a full-time Jungle Patrol or getting the skatepark for our kids completed.


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