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. The parade, in recognition of the Stonewall Riots and commemorating the riot of the previous year, was attended by 3, people.