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'Stay for as long as you like': Man, who fought off Sydney mall attacker, offered Australian citizenship

A video circulated on social media showed a French national holding a shopping centre bollard up to try and stop the knife-wielding Cauchi in his tracks on Saturday afternoon.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Sydney Published on: April 16, 2024 16:15 IST
Anthony Albanese offers citizenship to Frenchman Damien Guerot
Image Source : REUTERS/X Anthony Albanese offers citizenship to Frenchman Damien Guerot

Sydney: The French man, who acted swiftly and bravely, to stop the stabbing rampage, was offered to become an Australian citizen. The generous announcement from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese came as a video of his daring action went viral on social media platforms. 

On Saturday, 40-year-old Joel Cauchi attacked at the crowded Westfield Bondi Junction. The horrific stabbing incident killed at least seven and injured several, including a baby. The police fired at Cauchi, resulting in his death. However, French national Damien Guerot was the first man who confronted the knife-wielding attacker inside the Sydney shopping mall. As the killer was running towards the escalator to reach the upper floors, the French national fought off the attacker at the Bondi Junction shopping centre with a bollard.

The bold act was praised by many including the Prime Minister, who called dubbed his act "extraordinary". "We also see the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm’s way in order to help their fellow citizens. That bravery was quite extraordinary that we saw yesterday," said Albanese. Since then, a question started trending on social media platforms about who was the brave man who saved many lives.

"You are welcome to stay for as long as you like": Australian PM

Later, in a television interview, Guerot told Channel Seven that he is on a work visa which is due to expire in a couple of months. His lawyer, Belinda Robinson, started an online petition calling for Guerot to be granted Australian citizenship. Later, Albanese said Guerot was welcome to stay in Australia. "I say this to Damien Guerot, who is dealing with his visa applications, that you are welcome here. You are welcome to stay for as long as you like," said the Australian PM.

"It says a lot about the nature of humanity at a time when we are facing difficult issues that someone who's not a citizen of this country stood bravely at the top of those escalators and stopped this perpetrator from getting onto another floor and potentially inflicting further carnage," Albanese added.

Cauchi’s family calls Joel’s actions truly horrific

In a written statement later Sunday, Cauchi’s family said they were devastated by Saturday’s events and they had "no issue" with the police officer Scott who shot their son. The family said: "She was only doing her job to protect others".

"Joel’s actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened,” the statement read. "He has battled with mental health issues since he was a teenager," they added.

Also Read: Australia: 6 dead, including attacker, after multiple stabbings spark panic at Sydney shopping mall

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