Australia’s leader says French worker who intervened in stabbing attack can stay as long as he likes

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s prime minister says a French construction worker who confronted a man who stabbed six people to death in a Sydney shopping mall is welcome to stay in the country as long as he likes.

Damien Guerot has been nicknamed “Bollard Man” on social media because of security camera footage showing him standing at the top of an escalator menacing Joel Cauchi with a plastic bollard as he approached. Cauchi fled down the escalator and people on Guerot’s floor were kept safe.

Guerot’s temporary Australian work visa was due to expire in July until the prime minister intervened.

“I say this to Damien Guerot, who is dealing with his visa applications, that you are welcome here, you are welcome to stay for as long as you like,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters Tuesday.

“This is someone who we would welcome becoming an Australian citizen, although that would of course be a loss for France,” Albanese added.

Guerot’s lawyer Belinda Robinson told SBS News that the government had provided an assurance late Tuesday that he would be given an Australian permanent resident visa.

Guerot was one of a number of people praised for intervening in the attack. Officials have said the toll could have been much higher. Police said the attacker targeted women; five were among those killed.

Cauchi also injured at least a dozen others, including a 9-month-old baby whose mother was killed, before a police officer shot him dead.

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