Sydney siege: Mourners in Australia pay tribute to victims of gunman

Messages written with chalk and flower bouquets covered Martin Place

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The Independent Online

Mourners for two people who died during the siege in the Lindt café in Sydney on Tuesday have today paid tribute by leaving chocolates and chalk messages on the ground of the busy financial district.

Thousands of messages in chalk have been written on the pavement in Martin Place including “peace and love”, “united we stand” and “#Illridewithyou” - referring to the trending hashtag that people used to state their solidarity with Muslims who might have received abuse over the incident.

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Lindt chocolate and flowers left by mourners paying tribute

Boxes of Lindt chocolates, the same company that owned the café that the gunman and self-styled cleric Man Haron Monis shot dead 38-year-old barrister and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson and the 34-year-old café manager Tori Johnson, were left nestled in a sea of flower bouquets. The gunman was killed after armed police stormed the premises with stun grenades.


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Michelle Cotterill giving a woman a hug in the area of the Lindt café

Today, a woman called Michelle Cotterill walked around with a sign offering “free hugs” and said she had a few of the mourners have been taking her up on the offer amid the aftermath of the shocking tragedy.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott acknowledged that the nation's security system failed to keep track of the Iranian-born gunman and promised a transparent investigation into why the man was not on any terror watch list despite having a long criminal history of sexual assault and being accused as being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.