Sydney Rebounds From Siege With "Flowers Rather Than Fear"

    "This is the city that I love, we are showing our best selves now."

    Thousands of bouquets of flowers have been laid in Sydney's Martin Place, just metres from the spot two people were killed in this week's hostage drama.

    It is an overwhelming memorial that the New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, has now called the "beating heart" of the city.

    Two coffee cups with the images of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson are also among the flowers. The lawyer and cafe manager were killed during the violent end to the Sydney siege on Tuesday morning.

    This tribute at Martin Place particularly affected me #sydneysiege #illridewithyou @702sydney

    But rather than shrink from the horrific events, thousands of people have converged to take their turn laying flowers. Others have plastered the city sidewalk with messages of hope and unity for Sydney.

    There have even been choirs and bands playing sombre music, and these two bagpipe players, with a rendition of "Waltzing Matilda".

    A group of Sydney-siders also started offering "free hugs" in what they were calling #EmbraceInMartinPlace. BuzzFeed staff couldn't help but join in.

    One of those taking part, Emily Mulligan, told BuzzFeed: "I don’t normally hug strangers, it’s not my thing. But I am buzzing right now.”

    "I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and be like, ‘This is the Sydney that I love, we are showing our best selves right now.’"

    "This is how our city reacted, with flowers rather than fear."