Thousands gathered in Sydney’s Martin Place under grey skies last night to mark the first anniversary of the Lindt Cafe siege, in which a gunman held 17 people hostage for 16 hours before police stormed the building.
Two people died: barrister Katrina Dawson and cafe manager Tori Johnson.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW premier Mike Baird were among those who remembered the terrible day.
“A whole nation resolved to answer hatred with love,” the prime minister said, before reading from the many thousands of cards and notes left at the site in the days following.
The NSW premier said Australians “haven’t finished weeping, not just yet, but we know that behind these tears there is resilience and hope.”
“There are moments in life for which nothing can prepare us. December 15 and 16 were such days,” Baird said.
“We had faced hate and horror – but we responded with love and defiance. And we were reminded that, where there was grief, there was hope.”
As part of the commemoration, the Lindt Cafe building was used as a projection screen showing images of the flowers, condolence notes and people who came to pay tribute to Johnson, Dawson and all who had to cope with the legacy of the tragic day.
When the flowers that filled Martin Place were finally cleared away, a fortnight after the siege, all the cards and notes were preserved and recorded. Those messages were projected onto the building.
The light show will continue on the building for the next four nights, until Saturday, December 19, as part of the remembrance.
Here are some of the images that captured the poignancy of last night’s ceremony.
Lindt Cafe siege survivor Marcia Mikhael is hugged during the Tuesday night's commemoration of the one year anniversary.
The Sydney public schools choir sang, including 'Somewhere over the rainbow' and 'We are Australian'.
The Lindt Cafe had more flowers placed outside it on the first anniversary of the siege. NSW premier Mike Baird started his day with coffee there.
Muslim scholar and Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohamed was among many religious leaders at the commemoration.
'Suddenly we knew that words were not enough, and so we also carried flowers. That trickle of petals soon transformed into a sea of colour, and it was clear to the world that Sydney stands together,' said Mike Baird.
A memorial inspired by the flowers in Martin Place in the wake of the siege, will be installed in the paving.
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