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Participants march during the Sydney's annual gay and lesbian Mardi Gras night parade, on March 1, 2014
Sydney’s Shimmering Mardi Gras

in AUSTRALIA, 16/03/2014

Rain failed to dampen the spirits of tens of thousands of spectators and marchers who turned out for Sydney's annual gay rights Mardi Gras parade, organisers said on Sunday.

Vladimir Putin and his anti-gay laws were the focus of several floats in this year's march, which saw 10,000 participants and 144 entries wind their way through central Sydney, including a giant sinister-looking puppet of the Russian leader.

Rain soaked the city for much of Saturday, but skies cleared as the 36th annual parade got underway with the traditional "Dykes on Bikes" motorcycle group.

"Once again the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade has made its way through the streets of Sydney with flair, and celebrated safely," said assistant police commissioner Alan Clarke.

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