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Nowhere over the rainbow for Sydney gay crossing

David Gray / Reuters

A pedestrian walks across a rainbow pedestrian crossing painted on Sydney's Oxford Street, the city's main gay district, on April 4, 2013.

Officials have ordered the removal of a rainbow pedestrian crossing painted on a street in Sydney's main gay district, setting off fierce debate in a city known for its annual Mardi Gras gay pride event, one of Australia's main tourist draws.

Tracey Nearmy / EPA, file

New South Wales police officers take part in the 35th Sydney Mardi Gras parade on March 2, 2013. The annual LGBT pride parade and festival carries on from the gay rights marches held annually since 1978 after numerous participants had been contentiously arrested by New South Wales State Police.

Controversy over the crossing, painted in February to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the annual gay festival, is pitting those proud of Sydney's reputation for tolerance, such as gay former tennis star Martina Navratilova, against government officials who say it is a safety hazard.

The colorful stripes on Oxford Street were originally intended to remain for a month after the Mardi Gras in March, but the crossing has become something of a magnet for tourists, prompting calls to maintain it as a celebration of gay pride. Read the full story.

Tracey Nearmy / EPA, file

Revellers take part in the 35th Sydney Mardi Gras parade on March 2, 2013.

A rainbow-colored pedestrian crossing in Sydney has been removed, angering the gay community. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.