By Curtis Mountford-Hiles
Australians have expressed shock and fear over Monday’s siege at Lindt cafe in Martin Place, saying this was the first time such an attack had happened in the country.
“I think people are probably just very shocked because we feel very sheltered and far from all the terrorist action,” Jesse Walker, a 24 year old whose office is near the site of the siege, told The Indian Express.
For others, the attack has hit a bit closer to home with some offices being locked down. “It’s freaky because I go to that cafe every second morning and it could have easily been me,” said Rebecca Smith, a 27 year old lawyer who works at a firm close to Martin Place. Her office was locked down once the siege began. “Looking out of the windows it was weird, it was so eerily quiet out there,” she said.
The sense of fear was also heightened by rumours that were doing the rounds in Sydney throughout the day.
“My sister was in lockdown all day in Martin Place, and we couldn’t contact her,” said Charms Ledden-Guy, 32. “Then there were rumors of a beheading in the cafe and a string of bombs around the vicinity. I have never felt the terror I felt today at the thought of my sister in danger.”
Many Australians also voiced their concern at some of the “sensationalist” local media coverage, and the effect it could have on the Muslim community. “I’m feeling very sorry for the Muslims in Australia, as they’re now going to be faced with a tidal wave of ignorance and stupidity,” said Walker.