With the siege in Sydney still underway, heavily armed police surround the Lindt cafe in Martin Place.
Point of view
For all of us it's enormous blow, it's like it's come to home finally.
The area will remain in lockdown until tomorrow as they negotiate with the lone gunman.
He entered the cafe in the busy financial quarter just as rush hour was ending, taking many by surprise.
One woman who normally gets her morning coffee from the Lindt cafe was moved to tears as she explained that this morning she decided not to.
“I literally walked up to this station, walked up the stairs to take my coffee from Lindt cafe and for some reason this morning I decided to take it at the station underneath.”
On hearing the news, one man ran to collect his child from a daycare centre opposite the cafe.
“I just rushed as soon as I could, to try to get to him and trying to get him out of this dreadful situation.”
Many Australians who woke up to the news this morning were in shock.
“For all of us it’s enormous blow,” said one resident. Although the police have not confirmed the gunman’s motivation, she went on to say “it’s like it’s come to home finally.”
Australia which is backing the United States and its action against Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by radicalised Muslims or by home grown fighters returning from the conflict.
Other residents reacted by beginning the hashtag #illridewithyou on Twitter, offering to take public transport with Muslim Australians afraid of reprisals.