18 Apr 2024, 11:23

Sydney mall gets sombre reopening after stabbing attack

SYDNEY, April 18, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - A Sydney shopping mall where six people
died in a stabbing attack held a sombre reopening Thursday, with members of a
sorrowful community filing past rows of still-shuttered stores to pay their

Shops will reopen properly on Friday, nearly a week after a 40-year-old man
rampaged through the Westfield mall in Bondi Junction.

But Thursday's "slow reopening" was billed as a chance for shocked
Sydneysiders to reflect.

It's an opportunity to express solidarity and condolences and to "turn the
page on what's been a very difficult period" for the city, said New South
Wales Premier Chris Minns.
It was, he said, a "first step in healing".

Throughout the week, wellwishers have left piles of flowers knee-deep outside
the shopping centre -- usually thronged with families or people grabbing some
food, groceries or clothes.
On Thursday, the crowds had thinned considerably.

Digital displays that once showed glitzy ads and maps to help shoppers
navigate the labyrinthine complex were instead fixed with pixelled black
ribbons on a plain white background.

On one polished-stone concourse, a crescent of white flower bouquets and
wreaths framed a message of remembrance and a simple white table.
Placed atop it were more flowers, more bouquets and a book for passers-by to
inscribe what words they could muster.

The attack has shocked Sydney's normally peaceful Eastern Suburbs area, where
dangers usually amount to no more than a rip current along the beach, a
jogging injury, or an unfortunate encounter with the native fauna.

Television channels and newspapers have published the numbers of helplines
for residents struggling to come to terms with the unfathomable violence in
their backyard.

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