Sydney mall reopens for "reflection day" after 6 fatally stabbed-Xinhua

Sydney mall reopens for "reflection day" after 6 fatally stabbed

Source: Xinhua| 2024-04-18 19:27:00|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Sydney's Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center has reopened for the first time since a knife-wielding man killed six victims and left 12 others hospitalized. But the first day of its reopening was not for retail trading.

On Thursday, members of the public stepped into the shopping center between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time for a "Community Reflection Day" memorial event, paying their respects following the tragic events last Saturday.

From entrance gates to digital screens and banner stands, a black ribbon motif was visible practically in every corner of the expansive one-stop shopping hub.

"Together we remember all those impacted here, Saturday 13th April 2024. A space for the community has been established on Level 4, Myer side," one of the signs wrote.

Six white rose and moth orchid wreaths, as well as 12 bouquets of the same flowers, adorned the mourning site, along with visitors coming forth and leaving floral tributes brought by themselves.

To create a quiet setting, no background music was played in the shopping center, which has made ears more sensitive to the constant weeping and snuffling.

Even though the doors of every retailer remained shut, some staff members of the mall worked on-site, handing out tissues and black ribbon commemoration pins. Mental health volunteers wearing a "Need Someone to Talk To?" card before their chest also stood by to provide timely support.

Earlier in the day, the shopping center was visited by the Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns, who came along with the state's Police Commissioner Karen Webb before addressing local media at the Sydney Police Center.

"It is an opportunity to reflect as a community on the last week and most importantly, pay tribute to the six people that lost their lives as a result of that terrible and horrifying crime last Saturday," said Minns.

"It is not back to normal for Sydney, but this is an opportunity to grieve and to turn the page on what has been a very difficult period."

According to the premier, there would be a major vigil at Bondi Beach on Sunday, where people are encouraged to light up candles to express solidarity and sincere condolences.

Following the mass-casualty incident that occurred on Saturday afternoon, Sydney was shocked by another stabbing at a Wakeley church on Monday night, where four men were injured, and a 16-year-old suspect was subsequently arrested.

The "terror-related" event also sparked a public order investigation, as many police officers were injured by projectiles, with police vehicles damaged and property stolen during the incident.

"There are up to 50 people involved that we need to talk to, last night police identified and charged a 19-year-old man for being involved in that riot," said Webb, who joined Minns at Thursday's press conference.

"Fifty-one police officers were injured, and thankfully they're recovering from their injuries. Multiple police vehicles were damaged and many remain inoperable, which means police can't respond to calls from the service calls from the community because of those vehicles being out of action," the commissioner noted.

Given these "very serious criminal attacks" over the past few days, the NSW Premier said the state government is considering "potential changes" to the state's existing knife crime legislation.

"It's important that we look at how they're applied in practice and whether we can make changes to prevent it from happening again," said Minns.

During an interview with Sydney radio 2GB on Tuesday, Minns revealed that he would not rule out the possibility of tightening the related laws.