Damien Guerot, who fought off Bondi Junction attacker with bollard, can stay in Australia, PM says

Frenchman Damien Guerot
Frenchman Damien Guerot – the “bollard man”

Frenchman Damien Guerot will be offered a permanent visa after holding off the Bondi Junction attacker with a bollard.

The prime minister has declared the French man dubbed ‘bollard man’ who “bravely” confronted Joel Cauchi during a stabbing rampage at Bondi Junction can stay in Australia as long as he wants.

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

He then chased behind NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott, who shot the attacker dead, holding a chair as a potential weapon.

During an interview, Mr Guerot told Channel Seven he is on a work visa which is due to expire in a couple of months.

Mr Albanese said earlier on Tuesday that Mr 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,” Anthony Albanese said.

“You are welcome to stay for as long as you like.”

A petition was set up by a member of the public calling for him to be granted an Australian citizenship, describing his actions as a “true act of Australianism”.

“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,” Mr Albanese said.


Wreaths at Westfield Bondi
Wreaths at Westfield Bondi


In a statement, Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles said Mr Guerot’s “extraordinary bravery is an example of the character we all want to see in our society”.

“I am aware of Mr Guerot’s case and have asked my department to look into visa options for him,” he said. “We thank Mr Guerot as well as other members of the public, our heroic police officers and first responders who have helped protect others from danger.”

During the attack, six people were murdered and a dozen more were badly injured. Six patients remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old girl. Thousands of people ran for their lives or hid in shops and fire exits.

Mr Guerot, a construction worker who was on his way to the gym, ran towards the danger. In vision of the incident he can be seen holding the bollard to protect himself from Cauchi and trying to throw it at him to bring an end to the attack.

Riess Tudela watched it happen from above. “I saw an extremely brave gentleman trying to fend this man off the escalators, and he’s just an absolute hero,” Mr Tudela told 7.30.

Mr Guerot told Channel Seven he and his friend Silas Despreaux were acting on adrenaline. “I don’t know, we just [thought] we needed [to do] something to catch him,” Mr Guerot said.

“You cannot think in that moment, it’s [just] adrenaline.”

He recalled “[the attacker’s] eyes were like empty eyes … he wasn’t there”. Mr Guerot said he could not be held up for long and praised the actions of Inspector Scott who ran after the attacker and told him to drop the knife. When he lunged at her she fired three shots, killing him.

Mr Albanese thanked Mr Guerot for his “extraordinary bravery”. He went as far as saying he is the type of person he would welcome as an Australian citizen but admitted “that would of course be a loss for France”. “On Saturday we saw some of the best of human character at the same time we saw such devastating tragedy,” Mr Albanese said.


Frenchman Damien Guerot
Frenchman Damien Guerot – the “bollard man” confronts the knife attacker


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