Life goes on: Thousands mark WW1 Armistice in Australia, unbowed by attack
Thousands of people attended memorial services across Melbourne to mark the centenary of the Armistice ending World War One, shrugging off heightened security after Fridays attack in Australias second largest city which police branded terrorism
Thousands of people attended memorial services across Melbourne to mark the centenary of the Armistice ending World War One, shrugging off heightened security after Friday's attack in Australia's second largest city which police branded terrorism.
Attendance at Melbourne's the Shrine of Remembrance was bigger than expected, with visitors determined to show they were not bowed by Friday's stabbing of three civilians, one fatal, by Islamic State sympathiser Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30.
“Carry on,” Kate Mansell, the mother of a toddler and a baby in a stroller, told Reuters. “Life goes on,” said Alison Brett, visiting Melbourne from Australia's Northern Territory.
Her daughter, Belinda, who lives near the shrine, said she was not worried about being in public after Friday’s attack. “You can’t let that stop you,” she said.
At the shrine, across the river from the scene of the Bourke Street attack, a substantial but unobtrusive police presence guarded a crowd of about 4,000.
Melbourne's Pellegrini Espresso Bar, full to overflowing with floral arrangements left by mourners, remained closed on Sunday as visitors placed flowers on the pavement outside and taped letters of condolence on the cafe door.
The cafe was owned by popular 74-year-old restaurateur Sisto Malaspina who was stabbed to death after going to help Shire Ali, mistakenly thinking the attacker's car had broken down, according to witnesses quoted by ABC News.
Shire Ali had set the car, packed with gas cylinders, alight, but it did not explode. Homeless man Michael Rogers, who became a hero when he used a shopping trolley to try to ward off Shire Ali as he lunged at two police officers, was showered with donations from well-wishers contributing to a fundraising account set up for him by a charity. The GoFundMe account had raised more than A$50,000 ($36,000) as of Sunday night and was still growing.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton defended the work of security authorities which he said had 400 open investigations and needed information from the public to stop spontaneous attacks. “The police can't contemplate every circumstance,” he told reporters in Brisbane. Dutton said encryption technology made it difficult for authorities to gather intelligence.
By Sonali Paul and Alison Bevege