Police monitoring are social media as part of their negotiations with the gunman holding 20 people inside the Lindt Cafe in Sydney’s CBD.
NSW deputy police commissioner Catherine Burn said confirmed they’d seen posts on Facebook and Twitter by the captives detailing the gunman’s demands during a briefing at 6.30pm AEDT.
“We are monitoring all forms of communication, including Facebook and Twitter for any information that might assist,” she said.
Deputy commissioner Burn urged anyone with information to pass it on to police.
But she was reticent to comment on the situation, saying “We won’t clarify any operational tactics at the moment”.
“We are prevented from providing a great deal of information.
“There is speculation about what he might want,” Burn said. “But we have to deal with him on the level of police negotiation and we cannot engage in speculation.”
Several media outlets have been contacted by hostages who have listed the demands of the perpetrator. This evening police have asked that the demands not be repeated by media.
One TV station is also believed to have received a video from inside the cafe with a hostage listing the demands on camera.
Earlier this evening five people, three men and two women, including three staff, ran from the cafe.
“Those people are now being assessed to ensure that their health is OK and then police will speak to them,” Burn said.
Police have set up an operations centre to deal with the situation and police negotiators been in contact with the gunman “in various forms” throughout the day.
“This is a very well tested system of negotiation that is world class. It might take a little time,” Burn said.
“The contact that we have will be ongoing and will be based on our best assessment on how to get those people out safely.”
“Our approach is to resolve this situation peacefully.
“We are dealing with this. We have the best negotiators in the world,” she said. “We are working through this methodically to make sure that nobody is injured.”
The deputy commissioner said that people can still come into the CBD, with the exception of the exclusion zone around the CBD.
Office workers in Martin Place are still being kept in their offices, while others have headed home. The CBD this evening is eerily quiet.
“You should continue your business as usual,” she said. “If you had plans to come into the city, then you should go about your plans as usual. There is an exclusion zone in Martin Place and buildings facing on to Martin Place, but aside from that, other buildings will be operating as normal.”
The Sydney Opera House, which was evacuated earlier today, has cancelled all performances tonight, including ballet, drama and a pop concert.
Burns said that police will continue to try and end the siege tonight, but also planning ahead.
“We will be looking at arrangements for tomorrow,” Burns said.
Here’s her media conference:
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