It is one of the largest such festivals in the world ,  and the largest Pride event in Oceania. The event grew from gay rights parades held annually since , when numerous participants had been arrested by New South Wales Police. After the parade was dispersing in Kings Cross, 53 of the participants were arrested. The police response to a legal, local minority protest transformed it into a nationally significant event which stimulated gay rights and law reform campaigns. The second Mardi Gras Parade occurred in despite opposition by gay media, businesses and groups.