When an armed gunman took over the Lindt Café in Sydney’s Martin Place on Monday morning, witnesses were stunned by what they saw.
Patrick Burns was in a nearby building. “We all raced to the window and there we saw the shocking and chilling sight of people putting their hands up against the panes of glass at the cafe,” he told the ABC.
A man who identified himself only as Bruno told reporters near the scene that he was lucky not to be one of the hostages. An employee at the cafe, he said the doors were unusually locked when he arrived for work just before 10am.
“I was supposed to start at 10,” he said, according to Fairfax media.
“I saw a guy who looked like he was overseeing everything. He was standing up while everyone else was sitting down.
“That’s when the police came and everyone started putting their hands against the window. There was (sic) a whole lot of people in there.”
Another witness, Rosemary, said she often bought coffee in the Lindt Cafe as she worked in the same building.
“I just walked up from Martin Place station, up the stairs to get my coffee at the Lindt Cafe, and for some reason this morning I decided to get it at the station underneath,” she told the ABC.
“It’s very worrying. You just don’t think these sorts of things are going to happen in your own backyard. It’s literally frightening.
“I feel sorry for the staff in the cafe, they must be beside themselves.”
An employee of a legal firm located in the same building as the Lindt Cafe told the ABC the people who were apparently forced to hold a black flag with Islamic script up against the window of the shop looked terrified.
“I’m just thinking about the guys in Lindt. The people we see everyday, go in and buy our coffee from them, and I’m sure they’re terrified,” Elleanor Gillard said.
“It must be horrible for them. We’re safe. There is nobody pointing a gun at us.”
IMAGE: Armed police evacuate employees from the offices next to a cafe in the Sydney CBD on December 15, 2014. Hostages were being held inside a the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, with an Islamic flag displayed against a window, according to witnesses and reports. (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)