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Witnesses describe chilling scenes as Lindt cafe stand-off unfolded

ABC News ABC News 15/12/2014

"We all raced to the window and there we saw the shocking and chilling sight of people putting their hands up against the panes of glass at the cafe."

Patrick Burns described the scene witnessed by Sydneysiders this morning as the siege at the Lindt cafe in Martin Place unfolded.

Lindt says 10 people have been taken hostage inside the coffee shop and heavily armed police have taken up position in the vicinity.

Bruno said he works at the Lindt cafe and that the doors were locked when he arrived.

"I walked up to the door and it was locked ... I've called people and they haven't answered phone ... it's pretty bad," he said.

One witness, Rosemary, said she worked in the same building as the cafe and often bought coffee in the Lindt cafe.

"I just walked up from Martin Place station, up the stairs to get my coffee at the Lindt cafe, and for some reason this morning I decided to get it at the station underneath," she said.

"It's very worrying. You just don't think these sorts of things are going to happen in your own backyard. It's literally frightening.

"I feel sorry for the staff in the cafe, they must be beside themselves."

An evacuated office worker talks to the media. © Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images An evacuated office worker talks to the media.

An unknown number of people have been caught trapped in the building above the cafe, including staff at a legal firm.

Employee Elleanor Gillard said she saw a look of terror on the faces of two hostages who were forced up against the glass.

"I'm just thinking about the guys in Lindt. The people we see everyday, go in and buy our coffee from them, and I'm sure they're terrified," she said.

"It must be horrible for them. We're safe. There is nobody pointing a gun at us."

Ms Gillard said police told them not to leave and "just to stay away from the doors, stay inside".

"We've just been notifying everyone on the floors above, where I am I'm on the ground, not to come down in the lift because the lifts open up right in the foyer between us and Lindt," she said.

Chris Dion, owner of the East Bank Cafe, said people coming into his business are "terrified".

"We've got the TV on here," he said.

"Everybody is coming in to have a look and see what's going on in Martin Place.

"People just walking around not knowing what's happening.

"I'm in disbelief to be honest, but we live in a beautiful country and this is happening right here in Sydney?

"Who could believe that's happening here?"

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