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Manchester Mardi Gras 2002 is cancelled - news clip

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Uploaded on Nov 4, 2007

In August 2002, Manchester Mardi Gras was cancelled in a row between the police, Manchester City Council and organisers over crowd safety.

Some people people thought this was an attempt by powerful interests to sabotage the event. The city council had been forced to take a back seat in 2000 and 2001 after the disasterous 1999 Mardi Gras when zero was raised for charity.

Big businesses, their council cronies and local politicians weren't happy to see a much-smaller, less profitable GayFest in 2000 and 2001.

Interestingly, in 2006, Manchester's long-running Caribbean Carnival faced a similar situation, when, for the first time in its 30-year history, it was presented with a £24,000 bill for policing. Since 2004 there has been a more commercial rival Caribbean Carnival which has received full backing from Manchester City Council.

The City Council's behaviour was described as 'evil' by one of the organisers of the longstanding Caribbean Carnival.

Eventually Mardi Gras 2002 did go ahead. However, the organisers were somewhat discredited by the mysterious argument and cancellation. The following year, the city council was back on board and boasts that each year Manchester Pride, as it is now known, brings in £22m of extra income for businesses.

Meannwhile, the charity amount has been falling year on year. Just £65,000 for good causes in 2006. In 2007 Pride had income of £850,000, much of it given by the public in the form of ticket sales, but just £95,000 went to good causes. That is 12%, which is one of the lowest percentages ever.

This report is from BBC North West Tonight.

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