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Thread: Hostages taken in busy downtown Sydney, Australia coffee shop

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    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Default Hostages taken in busy downtown Sydney, Australia coffee shop

    Developing:..

    Sydney on alert as at least 13 hostages held at cafe in heart of city

    Sydney (CNN) -- [Breaking news update at 12:19 a.m. ET]

    Police negotiators have had contact with a hostage taker in the cafe where an unspecified number of people have been held for hours, said New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn.

    [Breaking news update at 12:05 a.m. ET]

    Three people ran out of a Sydney cafe where an unidentified person or people had taken hostages Monday, CNN affiliate Seven Network reported.

    [Original story posted at 11:55 p.m. ET]

    Hundreds of police officers on Monday shut down a usually bustling area in the heart of Sydney, where an unconfirmed number of people are being held hostage in a popular cafe.

    Chilling images from local media showed people, believed to be hostages, with their hands pressed against the glass of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's central business district.

    Footage showed them holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it that reads: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God."

    Authorities said many of the details about the situation remained unclear, including the number of people inside the cafe and the motivations of the hostage taker.
    Abbott: Incident is disturbing, terrifying
    Photos: Hostage situation in Sydney Photos: Hostage situation in Sydney
    Police: 'We are being tested today'

    "We don't know whether this is politically motivated, although obviously there are some indications that it could be," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters.

    The Islamic writing on the banner stoked fears that the crisis in Sydney could be linked to extremists. Australia, which is part of the international coalition fighting the terrorist group ISIS in the Middle East, said in September that it had foiled a plot by Islamic militants to carry out a public execution.

    New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said it wasn't yet clear whether the situation at the cafe was a terrorist event but that police are on "a footing that would be consistent with a terrorist alert."

    He said police haven't so far had direct contact with the armed hostage taker, who appears to have taken staff and customers captive as people were heading to work on Monday morning in the Martin Place area.

    Chris Kenny, an editor at The Australian newspaper, said he was at the cafe Monday morning. He left shortly before the siege started.

    "As police quickly swarmed and cleared the area, I turned to see a man against the window, facing out with his hands raised," he wrote in his account of the incident. "At first I was relieved thinking this was the gunman responding to police -- but soon the awful realisation the customers were being forced against the windows."

    CNN affiliate Seven Network reported that at least 13 people are being held at the cafe, but Scipione declined to say how many were in there.
    MAP: Sydney CBDMAP: Sydney CBD

    Police barricaded off streets and evacuated buildings near the cafe, bringing an eerie quiet to a district typically buzzing with pedestrians and vehicles.

    The Martin Place train station was shut down, according to police. They urged people to stay away from the area, but some local office workers gathered at the scene to try to find out what was going on.

    The buildings evacuated included U.S. Consulate General, said Alicia Edwards, a spokeswoman. All personnel have been accounted for, although it's not known whether there are any U.S. citizens among the hostages. U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation.


    Sydney on alert as hostages held at cafe in city - CNN.com
    Go Habs Go!!

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    I've read that the guy is allegedly some nutjob who has 50+ arrests for sexual assault/indecent exposure and thinks he's some black magic priest. Seriously
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^^
    yup, a real charmer.

    Man Who Held Dozens Hostage in Sydney Suspected of 50 Sexual Assaults

    Erin Gloria Ryan


    Police in Sydney, Australia have stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe where self-described "sheikh" Man Haron Monis was holding dozens of people hostage, thus ending the siege that gripped horrified onlookers the world over for hours. But this was far from Monis's first run-in with the law.
    While events are still unfolding in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald was able to definitively report on those other times Monis acted antisocially. Like last year, when he was charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife (a mother of two), who was stabbed to death and then set on fire. And then there's this:

    Most recently, he was charged with more than 50 allegations of indecent and sexual assault relating to time allegedly spent as a self-proclaimed "spiritual healer" who dealt with black magic at a premises in western Sydney more than a decade ago.

    Monis has dismissed the charges as part of a "witch hunt" against him.
    Between 2007 and 2009, Monis spent much of his time writing abusive and threatening letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers, a pastime that got him sentenced to 300 hours of community service. The Herald suggests that dissatisfaction with that sentence was what drove him to take hostages in the Lindt Cafe on Martin Place earlier today.
    Subhed: Terrible person terrible in a myriad of ways.
    UPDATE: Australian media is saying he's dead. Bye.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Bill Ozby

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    It's not over. The gunman might be dead but there is a lot of anger brewing. R.I.P. for the 2 hostages.
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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    I'm back at work but it's certainly not business as usual. The streets are empty and we have cops and security blocking access into the building to anyone who doesn't have a building pass (we have consulates upstairs). The centre of the city is still barricaded and there are cops everywhere. I wish I'd stayed home, it's a horrible feeling.
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    A*O
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    He was out on bail pending trial for stabbing and setting fire to his ex wife. Plus the sexual assaults of course. But we must be compassionate because he was a traumatised refugee. Bollox.
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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    Well I'm not about to condemn all refugees based on this one nutcase.
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    A*O
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    I don't condemn all refugees (stop projecting, that's my job) but in this instance I'm saving my bleeding heart for the two dead hostages.
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    R.I.P to the two victims.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    I don't condemn all refugees (stop projecting, that's my job) but in this instance I'm saving my bleeding heart for the two dead hostages.
    I agree that if you are going to hide yourself under the skirts of another country, so to speak, the least you can do is not try to impose your atavistic idea of culture on everyone else.

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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    I don't have any sympathy for him and of course I'm mourning the 2 innocent victims. But this is the kind of thing that stirs up hatred for refugees, and they already suffer enough.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faithanne View Post
    I don't have any sympathy for him and of course I'm mourning the 2 innocent victims. But this is the kind of thing that stirs up hatred for refugees, and they already suffer enough.
    Definitely. I'm sure there are a zillion beleagured refugees who love Australia and its ideals who are afraid to leave their houses, or let their children go out. It sucks. After 9/11, there were morons shooting Sikhs over here.
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    twitchy2.0 and sputnik like this.
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    A*O
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I agree that if you are going to hide yourself under the skirts of another country, so to speak, the least you can do is not try to impose your atavistic idea of culture on everyone else.
    Many refugees who come to Australia, no matter where from, assimilate reasonably quickly and while keeping their religion and culture. They learn to speak English, find jobs and work bloody hard to provide for their families and generally make a valuable contribution to our community as a whole. The many refugees who came here from SE Asia, eg Vietnam, and the various Balkan countries, Russia, etc, fall into this category.

    BUT....

    There are problems with certain groups from the Middle East and parts of Africa who tend to live in tight, insular groups, almost ghettos, who manifestly do NOT assimilate and cling to their language, religion and cultural practices to the deliberate exclusion of all others. They are often poorly educated despite free Govt schools being available to them and in turn their young men are ill equipped to find work. There is a disproportionately large number of angry, bored, disaffected young men who are ripe for the picking by militant fundamentalists selling them tales of glory and martyrdom.

    We can't openly discuss this of course because if we try we're labelled "racists" so the camel in the room is carefully ignored by a PC media. And then terrible things like this incident in Sydney happen and people are surprised. The problem is compounded by the apparent reticence of Islamic community and religious leaders to speak out and vociferously condemn this type of behaviour. I'm sure they are equally appalled but very few actually come out and say so, perhaps because they too have been intimidated into silence.
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