15 December 2014 - Hostage crisis in Sydney
Central Sydney Is in Lockdown Amid a Developing Hostage Crisis
David Stout (Time)
Many buildings, including the famed Opera House, have been evacuated
Heavily armed police fanned out across downtown Sydney on Monday after an unidentified male took an undisclosed number of people hostage at a café in the central business district of Australia’s largest city.
Hostages were seen displaying a black and white flag in the window of the Lindt café in Martin Place — a major commercial precinct usually crowded with office workers and tourists and, at this time of year, Christmas shoppers.
The flag bore, in Arabic text, what was thought to be the shahada, or Muslim testimony of faith. It translates as, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The flag, which is commonly flown by Islamist terrorist groups, has sparked fears that a terrorist attack is unfolding. However, Sydney police have not said if it is a terrorist attack but confirm they have made contact with the perpetrator.
Ian Johnston (The Independent)
Three men and two women have escaped a cafe in Sydney where an undisclosed number of people were being held hostage by an armed man on Monday morning.
Armed officers have surrounded the Lindt Chocolat Café in Martin Place in Sydney's Central Business District, where staff and customers have been forced to hold what appeared to be a black Islamic flag against the window.
Footage broadcast on Sky News showed two men running towards a group of police around what appeared to be a fire escape door. In a separate shot another man, wearing a brown apron, was seen running out through the door.
Catherine Burn, deputy commissioner at New South Wales Police, said: "We are with those people now. The first thing that we are doing is making sure that they are okay. We will then establish who they are, and then we will continue to work with them."
SYDNEY, Australia - A hostage situation continued to unfold in downtown Sydney on Monday morning, as an apparent gunman entered a cafe and allegedly held its occupants. A black flag with white Arabic writing could later be seen in the window, according to multiple reports.
Speaking on the crisis, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the motivation of the perpetrator was unclear, but speculated on the possibility that it might be political.
Early reports indicate that the gunman is acting alone and could be holding anywhere between 13 and 20 hostages. But currently there is no confirmation from police on the number of hostages taken.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said "at least" one armed offender involved in situation who has taken an "undisclosed" number of hostages. But he also said it was not clear why the gunman took the hostages, and "have not confirmed that this is a terrorism-related event."
Ben Grubb (The Age)
Taxi and private hire car app Uber will offer free rides out of Sydney's CBD on Monday following criticism for charging passengers more than four times the usual rate while a siege is underway at Martin Place and the city is in lockdown.
The increase was due to "surge pricing", which sees the cost to use the app rapidly increase when supply is limited. It's designed as an incentive to get more drivers on the road.
Some users reported a minimum of $100 being charged by the app as the siege unfolded. The increase in cost is based on a computer algorithm and not determined by staff.
Following outcry, the company said in a statement to Fairfax Media that it was "in the process of refunding rides".
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"15 December 2014 - Hostage crisis in Sydney", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), décembre 2014. Consulté le 21/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/15-december-2014-hostage-crisis-in-sydney