Australia

Sydney cafe siege tribute to mark first anniversary

The Lindt cafe at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia where a gunman and two hostages were killed in December 2014 Image copyright Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Sydney is marking the first anniversary of the cafe siege which left three people, including the gunman, dead.

Iranian self-styled Muslim cleric Man Haron Monis held 18 hostages inside the Lindt cafe on 15 December last year.

The families of victims Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson are expected to join thousands of people at a twilight vigil outside the cafe on Tuesday.

The Dawson family say they have been overwhelmed with support from around the world this past year.

"Whilst nothing can replace the void that Katrina's death has brought to our lives, the warmth of those many voices of support has helped us enormously on our darkest days," the family said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Today is one such day. Nevertheless we shall remember Katrina not because of the circumstances of this anniversary but because of the extraordinary joy, hope and inspiration she brought to so many people's lives."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Barrister Katrina Dawson (L) and cafe manager Tori Johnson (R) will be honoured at a memorial in Sydney's Martin Place on Tuesday

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird on Tuesday said Sydney continues to mourn with Tori and Katrina's families.

He said that one year ago "terror came right to our doorstep", but the city will not be broken "by those who want to bring evil and those who want to divide us".


How the Sydney siege unfolded

  • A gunman enters the cafe early on 15 December and has a coffee before holding a gun to manager Tori Johnson's head.
  • The gunman is identified as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian self-styled Muslim cleric given asylum in Australia.
  • Monis already faces a string of criminal charges, including sexual assault and being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.
  • Several hostages managed to escape the cafe which is surrounded by hundreds of armed police.
  • Police commandos storm the cafe in the early hours of 16 December, after Monis shoots Mr Johnson dead.
  • Monis and cafe customer Katrina Dawson die in the police operation.

The premier has also announced plans for a permanent memorial to be built into the pavement in Martin Place.

Clear cubes containing flowers will be embedded into the concrete and will shine with specialised lighting.

It is a project inspired by the massive floral tributes that were left in the days after the siege.

Image copyright Mike Baird/Facebook

'Objective to spread fear'

Meanwhile, siege survivor and Lindt cafe worker Jarrod Morton-Hoffman has written an emotional essay, reflecting on the ordeal.

He said that one year on, he still struggles to understand the "senselessness" of the event.

"Inherently, terrorism can be seen as an extremely violent performance designed to catch the attention of the public and broadcast the terrorist's goals," he wrote for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"For Monis, that goal was to threaten us for our involvement in Syria and Iraq. His objective was to spread fear. His success or failure is based solely on our choice to either remain afraid or be brave."

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