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Sydney Siege - The Drama

Updated on August 17, 2016

Terror in Sydney

Terrified Hostage Runs to Safety.
Terrified Hostage Runs to Safety. | Source

The city was decked with Christmas decorations, but people in the Sydney city, were busily going about their day on 15th December 2014. Those who work in the hub, had their favorite ways of traversing the busy city, often using short cuts through Malls, shops and train stations on foot.

That day Chris Kenny did just that and walked via the Lindt Chocolat Café, a popular coffee place in the heart of the city, right opposite the TV Channel 7 news offices. His eye glanced on a big man dressed in Arabic style garb, sitting near the front window. His mind noted it, but his brain was too busy with other matters to make anything of it.

Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place
Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place | Source

It was nearly 10 am and the latest news began hitting the airwaves. Those who heard the guarded words found it difficult to comprehend. The word ‘Siege’ was being bandied about. Most shook their head as if to clear the cobwebs from within. This is Sydney, Australia; it could not be.

The scenes witnessed from outside the café soon dispelled any doubts. Two women were holding up a black flag with white Arabic writing against the window of the Café. People stopped to stare. Most could not read the writing and assumed it was an ISIS flag. It turned out to be a “Shahada” flag and nothing to do with that of the Islamic State. In fact, soon the gunman will be demanding an ISIS flag. It seemed he wanted to be recognised as part of that group, and maybe he was – in his own mind.

Where is Martin Place?

Martin Place - the Hub of Sydney.
Martin Place - the Hub of Sydney. | Source

The masses of well-padded police that flooded the place shortly, took control of the area. Martin Place buildings were evacuated and the whole area cleared. The public was kept at bay, the train station closed, with no trains stopping there at all. Crowds are pushed further back as the terrifying event unfolded.

The gunman sent a message to say that there are other devices planted around Sydney. Harbour Bridge is an important artery with many lanes of traffic that never seems to thin out, yet it was closed. The police also cordoned off the Opera House. The Supreme Court and the NSW parliament are also nearby, and they too are cleared and closed down. The City ground to a halt as never before, but the police were not taking chances.

At first it was thought to be an ISIS flag.
At first it was thought to be an ISIS flag. | Source

The big man sitting by the window – now known to have been Man Haron Monis - had ordered one of the hostages caught in this web of terror to call the 2GB radio and demand to speak with the prime minister on air. The disembodied voice of the captive easily conveyed the message that the fear in that room was thick and palpable. Some of the captives were distraught and wondering why the Prime Minister was not responding, and how would this rebuff affect them? Many people, listening and watching intently from outside, were probably thinking the same, but others felt sure that some negotiations must be going on under wraps.

The tactical police widen the lockdown area and it was rumoured that there could be 40-50 people in the café, some of whom were customers. This was later downgraded to some 30 persons and later still, established as 17. Prime Minister holds a press conference and states that it is still unclear what the motivation for the siege is.

Other Hostages Free.

More Hostages Flee.
More Hostages Flee. | Source

By the afternoon, 3 hostages are seen running into the arms of the tactical police outside! What did this mean? Did they escape or were they released? The public waited and wondered. They knew that the police must be working behind the scenes, but the situation was tense, dense and frightening. Those now released provided a clearer picture of what it was like for the hostages, but no more demands were made. The gunman wanted to converse with the Prime Minister on air, but nobody knew why.

It later transpired that some hostages negotiated with the gunman to allow them and others go to the bathroom and even to prepare some food from the kitchen. It was said that some of the captives co-operated with each other, some were quietly assessing the situation to see whether they could overpower the gunman, while others were bolstering up those who were immobilised with the fear they were forced to endure. Some others must have been wondering what it would be like to flee or to fight. Each handled the situation in their own way.

Grand Mufti Condemns Siege.

By mid-afternoon there had been no direct communication with the gunman. This did not deter the country’s highest Islamic officer from making a public statement. The Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, expressed outrage and great sadness at what was happening and specifically condemned the actions of this Muslim gunman.

We will never know how Man Haron Monis felt about this statement, but shortly afterwards two more female hostages ran outside. Inside the building he was still insisting that two hostages hold up that flag against the window, rotating them for two hours at a time at standing and holding up that flag high. Many wondered how long this gunman could keep alert enough to control a whole bunch of people, despite the guns he held. He had no accomplice there, so surely he could not hold out forever. Nine hours would have been wearying enough, surely. We later on found out that some hostages were also considering the same train of thought. But of course it is not easy to assess the likelihood of success and the result of failing to incapacitate him could have been disastrous for some. Two kitchen boys had picked up small knives as they filed out of the kitchen, but they wisely hesitated as these might turn out to be ineffective against the guns he held pointing at them.

Were They Released or Had They Escaped?

The building was surrounded by tactical highly armed personnel, but the gunman could easily shoot captives if he suspected an attack. The police had entered the building but were reluctant to hurry things up, preferring to put priority on the safety of the captives.

It was not until the [next] early morning hours that a man ran out, and minutes later four captives also appeared just outside the building. Were they released or did they escape?

Shortly after that, rapid gunfire shattered the night air, then a second volley of shots added to the confusion as police and paramedics stormed the hostage site.

By 2.45am on 16th December, the gunman was dead and the siege was over. Three people lay dead and another four were injured.

Tori Johnson, Lindt Cafe Manager.
Tori Johnson, Lindt Cafe Manager. | Source

Tori Johnson Loving and Courageous.

It was reported later that Man Haron Monis had brutally executed the much loved Tori Johnson, the 34 year old Manager of the Café. He had demanded that Tori kneel and he coldly shot him at the back of the head. That shooting is what prompted the police to make a move. In the melee’ that followed some were injured, and worse still, one was fatally wounded. This was a high flying barrister of 38 years, Katrina Dawson, mother of 3 children who copped a ricocheting bullet.

Katrina Dawson, Barrister.
Katrina Dawson, Barrister. | Source

Katrina Dawson Protective of Others.

It all ended as abruptly as it had started. For a few hours the news was confusing, but it was clear that two perfectly innocent people lay dead. For the rest of the captives, who survived, who knows how long the nightmares will remain with them? There were those that froze, others stayed cool and in control, those that wanted to fight the man, and others who hoped and prayed that the gunman will disintegrate and disappear. All had to deal with the fear, the tiredness and the reality of their predicament.

Martin Place is a big place and regarded as the hub by those walking around the city. It is where everyone meets, especially at lunchtime, to eat, to chat and to watch the free shows. There was not an inch left uncovered after the siege. It was a sea of flowers of all types and colors. It is amazing that there were that many flowers to be bought at all.

Outpouring of Grief.

A Veritable Sea of Flowers.
A Veritable Sea of Flowers. | Source

They were placed there, by young and old, people of all colors and creeds, all broken hearted about the needless deaths of two fine young people.


Image 1 Jieun Bae is Free. Reuters: Jason Reed

Image 2 Hostages holding up Flag

Image 3 Map of the City Centre. On the Tele-

Image 4 Shahada Flag . . . .Private Collection.

Image 5 Two More Hostages Free!

Image 6 Tori Johnson, Café Manager

Image 7 Katrina Dawson, Barrister

Image 8 A Sea of Flowers CC BY-SA 2.0 Uploaded by Ashton 29

© 2015 MarieLB


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    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Hi Kate, Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments. I am glad you enjoyed the read. I was not in Sydney [City] that day, but I am very familiar with those surroundings, and so many of us were biting our nails as we were glued to any avenue of news that day. We followed the news for every minute of that drama. Just one year ago. My apologies for the delayed response, but I was away.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      What a great account of that terrible tragedy. I was in Sydney then, and your article brougtht it all back to me, very vividly. Thank you for recording it.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Thank you Ted for reading and for sharing your thoughts too. Glad you enjoyed.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It took me awhile to get to this one, and I liked it too. Interesting. I was away at the time.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Thank you Kate T.

    • profile image

      Kate T 

      4 years ago

      Well done.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      I agree Brent. We do need to remember, but we also need to forget the horror it caused. Hopefully the surviving hostages are doing okay.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi again, read your other article about the siege, and I guess this gives me a clearer picture of what happened that day. We should never forget it or we might regret it.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      DWDavisRSL- Yes I agree. It is a sad indictment of our times. Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that most of those who fall into this delusion are frustrated, angry individuals anyway. Sad indeed.


      Thank you peachpurple. Pray for peace is all we can do.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      a terrible thing to happen, praying for the dead and peace

    • DWDavisRSL profile image

      DW Davis 

      4 years ago from Eastern NC

      It is tragic that anyone can come to believe that God wants them to kill in his name in this modern age. These misguided individuals twist and pervert the teachings of their own faith, just as Torquemada and his followers once twisted the tenants of Christianity, to justify the most horrific acts. May it be those who were lost whom we remember and the name of the perpetrator be lost to antiquity.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Just finalizing my question. Again I found I did not have enough space to explain my question fully. There is so much I do not know yet, VM!!!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      It is great idea. Let us look at what our friends say.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Hi VM, Thank you for your advice and encouragement. Frankly I find that when I am so close to finishing, that I cannot wait any longer. I get really keen to finalize and publish. Guess that is not the professional way of doing things, but I have not been that long at this game!! I think I will open this up for comments from the gang - forum. Do you think that is a good idea?

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      You can make it longer upto 2000 or even 2500 words, I think. First you write it and then try to edit. That way, it will be fine. I write all my posts directly in the hub capsules or at my blogs. I do not write separately in my documents. You can keep it unpublished till you are satisfied and then publish even after two days. I will be waiting eagerly.

      By the way, I did n't receive any notification of this hub in my daily mail. I don't know why.

    • MarieLB profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Thank you for reading VM. It has indeed been unique and shocking to most Australians. The survivors will long battle with their memories no doubt. I am now writing another hub about it, but I fear, it is too long. There is so much to convey about the hostages, I cannot seem to cut it down much.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Marie, this is some thing very shocking to know. I was unaware of this incident, even though I keep touch with world news from Times of India and The Washington Post. It is very horrific to know about the deaths of innocent and gentle people on that fateful day. I hope now it is okay there.

      My blessings and good wishes to you.


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