Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Sydney's Martin Place hosts cafe siege memorial
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Jon Donnison reports, one year on from the Sydney cafe siege
Crowds have gathered in Sydney's Martin Place to honour the victims of the Lindt cafe siege, one year on.
The city was brought to a standstill on 15 December last year when a gunman held 18 hostages for 17 hours.
Family members of victims Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were in attendance.
Images of the floral tributes that filled the city centre in the wake of the siege were projected on to the cafe and surrounding buildings in an emotional twilight ceremony.
Siege survivors Selina Win Pe (L) and Marcia Mikhael (R) returned to Martin Place to mark the one year anniversary
"A whole city grieved. A whole city woke in shock... Our love, our unity, triumphs," Mr Turnbull told the crowd.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gave an address saying a "whole nation resolved to answer hatred with love".
"Testament to the spirit of Australians is that with such unnecessary, thoughtless tragedy, an amazing birth of mateship, unity and love occurs. Proud to be Australian," he said.
Members of the Muslims for Peace group joined former councillor turned self-styled peace activist Danny Lim (centre)
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.
New South Wales Premier Mike Baird 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.
At a joint press conference with Premier Mike Baird (R) New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione (L) said the force will do "absolutely everything we can to prevent this type of thing happening again" .
It is a project inspired by the massive floral tributes that were left in the days after the siege.
"Something remarkable happened here. As a city we were drawn to Martin Place. We came in shock and in sorrow but every step we took was with purpose," he said on Tuesday.
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