December 15, 2014
One of the greatest things about diversity is all of the vibrancy.
An armed gunman is holding up to 13 people hostage inside a chocolate shop in Sydney while forcing two people to raise what appears to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it, Sky News Australia reports.
Australian special forces have been called in to the city’s financial district and New South Wales police are advising people to stay out of the area.
Television footage shot through the store’s windows showed several people with their arms in the air and hands pressed against the glass. The footage showed two people inside the Lindt chocolate shop holding up what appeared to be an Islamic flag. It was not immediately clear what the flag said.
Zain Ali, the head of the Islamic Studies Research Unit at the University of Auckland, told The Associated Press that it was difficult to read the message because media images showed only the lower part of the flag. But he believed it was the Shahada, or declaration of faith, largely because a black flag with white writing in a contemporary context often contains that message. He said he could make out the word “Muhammad.”
New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the shop or whether hostages were being held, The Associated Press reports.
But Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane told News.com.au he believes there are 40 to 50 people inside the cafe, including customers and staff.
A police spokeswoman said no injuries had been reported from the incident.
The shop is located in the heart of the city’s financial district and streets in the area were closed. Police officers were lined up outside the shop.
“A police operation is underway in Martin Place, Sydney’s CBD. People are advised to avoid the area,” New South Wales police posted on their Twitter account.
It is not an ISIS flag.
Here is a timeline, found on Reddit (up to date at time of writing):
- At least 2 gunmen, suspected more right now. (unconfirmed if they have guns, however) [00:00 GMT]
- The gunmen forced 2 female hostages to press themselves against the glass window of the cafe while holding up a black Islamic flag that resembles the generic black standard used by extremist groups, including ISIS back in 2007. This is NOT the same flag as the ISIS flag. [00:02 GMT]
- There are at least 13 hostages right now, possibly more. [00:04 GMT]
- Airspace over Sydney reserved for military/police, other traffic diverted (confirmed) [00:09 GMT]
- Reports of threats made against other places in Sydney according to ABC24 (CONFIRMED). [00:14GMT]
- Reports that one of the gunmen is wearing a backpack and some sort of a vest. (unconfirmed) [00:24 GMT]
- Suspicious package at Sydney opera house, building fully evacuated (unconfirmed). [00:25 GMT]
- Gunmen have made demands on live radio to speak to the Australian Prime Minister. [00:30 GMT]
- A middle-aged looking gunman has been witnessed through the window by ABC24 [00:39 GMT] (unconfirmed).
- Possibly a second gunman witnessed through the window wearing a black headband with white writing in Arabic on it (unconfirmed) [00:42 GMT]
- Australian PM’s office releases message that the national security cabinet is holding an emergency meeting (hostage crisis confirmed), possibly Australian military response. [00:42 GMT]
- Sydney harbor bridge closed down (confirmed by Channel 7 news) [00:51 GMT]
- 2 gunmen confirmed by unidentified Lindt chocolate cafe employee who managed to escape [00:54 GMT]
- Hostages being held in 2 different groups according to unidentified Lindt chocolate cafe employee who managed to escape [00:55 GMT]
- Channel7 news reporting that an individual walked into a Sydney hospital with a suspicious package, and then disappeared and is currently missing. [00:57 GMT]
- CEO of Lindt Australia now saying that there are currently 40-50 hostages being held (unconfirmed) [00:58 GMT]
- PM Tony Abbott holding press conference. [1:55 GMT]
I don’t know how 13 could go to 40-50 so quickly, but fog of war is heavy in these situations.
What we need to do now is make sure that the Australian people don’t become critical of immigration, simply because the immigrants are prone to kidnapping chocolate shop customers. Even if people are killed – presumably, they will be – we need to remember what really matters, which is the vibrancy of diversity.
Sure, this wouldn’t have happened if there were no immigrants in Australia, but maybe it would have, because maybe a White person would do the same thing because race doesn’t exist. Also, White people also do bad things, so it doesn’t matter that immigration causes bad things to happen.
For following things live:
Reddit Live Thread
ABC News 24 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/
ABC Mirror – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvzpSvyyZis
Sky News – http://news.sky.com/watch-live
Abbot statement from press conference:
Picture of the ape responsible – appears to be negroid, rather than Arab:
UPDATE (11:15 GMT):
Nothing much is happening. Negotiators are speaking with the haj, and apparently some news outlets know his name and aren’t releasing it yet. Some people escaped or were let go.
Muslims have released a statement saying they aren’t responsible.
Even though doing this is an official part of their religion. So they are either lying or they don’t actually believe in their own religion. Take your pick.