Three are confirmed dead in the wake of the Sydney seige which ended dramatically early this morning when armed police stormed the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place at 2.03am.
The dead include two hostages – a man, aged 34, and woman, aged 38, and the alleged gunman Man Haron Monis who had been holding occupants of the Lindt Cafe hostage since 9.45am on Monday. Monis is known to police and was on bail facing dozens of charges.
During the seige thousands of messages of support were posted online for Muslims in Australia who are afraid of a possible “Islamophobic backlash”.
According to a BBC report it was sparked by a post on Facebook by Rachael Jacobs who’d seen a woman silently removing her hijab while sitting next to her on the train. “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u’. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone’.
The encounter inspired a Twitter user to start the hashtag #illridewithyou and since then thousands of people have joined the campaign offering their support to Australian Muslims at their local stations.