Police negotiators have made contact with a man suspected to have taken hostages inside the Lindt Chocolat Café in Sydney's central financial district, according to Catherine Burn, the New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner. The suspect has reportedly seized an undisclosed number of people for hours on Monday.
“Police negotiators have had contact and they continue to have contact and we will work through this as we do with our negotiators. It might take a bit of time, but we want to resolve this peacefully and I assure you if it takes a bit of time we will take that time,” Burn said, adding that the number of hostages at the café is “not as high as 30,” according to The Guardian.
Meanwhile, the Australian National Imams Council stated that it “condemns this criminal act unequivocally.”
The council issued a statement along with the Grand Mufti of Australia, which said that “such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam.” They also offered their “full support and solidarity with the victims and their families and aspire to a peaceful resolve to this calamity,” Reuters reported.
On Monday, the Sydney Opera House canceled Monday night's programs amid the hostage situation to relieve pressure on local transportation systems.
“In light of the situation in the CBD today, we have decided to cancel tonight’s performances at the Opera House. This is to minimise pressure on transport networks and to provide as much notice as possible to staff and patrons,” the Sydney Opera House announced on Facebook.