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Knife attack in Australia: who are the two French heroes congratulated by Macron?

French and Australians have only had two names on their lips for 24 hours: Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux.

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Knife attack in Australia: who are the two French heroes congratulated by Macron?

French and Australians have only had two names on their lips for 24 hours: Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux. These two French nationals courageously stood up against the assailant who killed six people with a knife in a shopping center in Sydney last Saturday, before the latter was neutralized by a police officer.

The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron personally congratulated the two heroes in a message published on Two of our compatriots behaved like true heroes. Very great pride and recognition,” he wrote. Who are these two French people and how did they act on Saturday? Le Figaro takes stock.

Recall of facts. Last Saturday, a 40-year-old man, believed to be suffering from mental illness, attacked people in a shopping center in Sydney. In total, six victims have so far been reported. Twelve people were taken to hospital, including a nine-month-old baby, also seriously injured, but whose life is no longer in danger. Her mother unfortunately died in the attack. The attacker was chased and then shot dead by an Australian police officer. However, she is not the only one to have stood out heroically in the attack.

Among these heroes are two Frenchmen: Damien Guerot and Silas Despreaux, both in their thirties and construction workers in a construction company on the North Coast, according to Australian media. According to information that can be found on their social media, Damien and Silas both appear to have arrived in Australia in 2017.

Saturday, while the two accomplices were on their way to return to their gym, they heard screaming and came face to face with the assailant. “We tried to catch him but he was coming down the stairs, (...) so we followed him, we tried to throw the pole at him but we couldn't,” Guerot told the TV channel. Australian television Seven News. In the videos, we can see Damien, a pole in his hand, facing the attacker who was in the middle of an escalator. “We didn’t think, you can’t think in the moment. It’s the adrenaline.” The assailant had “empty eyes”, as if he “wasn’t there”, remembers Damien.

On other videos, we can see Damien, accompanied by other people, grab a metal chair and pursue the attacker, before the attacker is neutralized by the police officer. “She is the real hero,” continues Damien Guerot with humility. Asked what he thought about being called a "hero" by Australians, Silas Despreaux said: "I'm a little shy about it, but yes, it's a good thing." Le Figaro tried to contact the two French people, who have not responded for the moment.

In recognition, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that he was offering Australian citizenship to Damien Guerot: "I tell Damien Guerot, who is handling his visa applications, that he is welcome here and that he can stay too as long as he wishes. Silas is already a permanent resident.

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