Sydney has been praised for its response to the deadly Lindt Cafe siege 12 months on, with New South Wales Premier Mike Baird paying tribute to the outpouring of hope following the horrific incident.
It has been one year since 50-year-old Man Haron Monis walked into the Martin Place cafe armed with a sawn-off shotgun and took 17 people hostage for more than 16 hours.
Two did not make it out alive – cafe manager Tori Johnson, shot execution-style by Monis, and barrister Katrina Dawson.
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Following the tragedy, a sea of flowers left by thousands of people lined the city and was a sign of solidarity and hope.
Speaking outside the cafe with Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione on Tuesday morning, Mr Baird thanked Sydney for the way the city responded to the siege.
“When those hands came and put the flowers in the centre, they said they wanted to mourn with those that lost their lives,” Mr Baird said.
“They also said: ‘We will not be stared down by those who want to bring evil to this city, those that want to divide us. We stand in hope.’
“That great hope that came is something I don’t think anyone that was here will ever forget and really that is what we stand on today, both in mourning with those we lost, but with great hope that came and was shown by the city in the face of adversity.”
Commissioner Scipione said it was important to reflect on the amount of work that went into resolving the issue, particularly by the emergency services and police.
He said the police did an outstanding job during the siege.
“I want to thank them on behalf of the community but also give an assurance to the community,” Commissioner Scipione said.
“On this day a year ago, Sydney stood up, in fact Australia stood up, and said we’re not prepared to tolerate this kind of violence and let people with evil intent get on with their business.
“And the guarantee that I gave then and the guarantee I give now is that we as law enforcers will do absolutely everything we can to prevent this type of thing happening again.”
Families remember lost loved ones
A statement from Ms Dawson’s family said they had been “overwhelmed by the extraordinary support, generosity and comfort of people both here in Australia and elsewhere in the world” throughout the 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 the darkest of days,” the statement said.
“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, ourselves included.”
Mr Baird will join the victims’ families and survivors for a morning tea at NSW Parliament House before a candlelit vigil outside the cafe at 8.15pm.
The public can attend the ceremony at viewing points between Phillip and Macquarie Streets, as well as Elizabeth and Castlereagh Streets in Martin Place.
The Lindt Cafe building will also be lit up for five nights with projections of the floral tribute and the thousands of messages laid at the site in the aftermath.
A permanent memorial – hundreds of illuminated glass boxes holding flowers and set into the granite paving of Martin Place – will be established outside the cafe at a later date.
Every dollar spent in the Lindt Cafe on the first anniversary of the Sydney siege will be donated to charity.
Funds raised at the Martin Place cafe on Tuesday will be donated to the Katrina Dawson Foundation and Beyond Blue, the charity chosen by Tori Johnson’s family.
CEO of Beyond Blue Georgie Harman said about $340,000 had already been donated to Mr Johnson’s memorial fund since December last year.
– with AAP/ABC