Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it’s unclear if there’s a political motivation behind the hostage situation in the Sydney city centre where an armed man has taken hostages in a cafe at Martin Place.
He added however there were “indications” that the hostage-taker may have political intent, a reference to the black flag with Arabic lettering that was seen in the window of the cafe.
While he said we “don’t know yet the motivation of the perpetrator”, he said “we have to realise there are people who wish to do us harm”.
“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves,” Abbott said. “Australia is a peaceful open and generous society. Nothing should ever change that.
“I would urge all Australians today to go about their business as usual.”
He said “thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals who are caught up in this.”
“Our hearts go out to those people”
Heavily armed police have surrounded the Lindt cafe on Martin Place, where it’s believed at least 13 hostages are being held, and the area has been cordoned off for at least two blocks in all directions. Office workers have been evacuated from nearby buildings and others are being told to stay indoors and away from windows.
Abbott also said that the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, or MYEFO, would be released shortly after being postponed for a short time.
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