Sun. May 26th, 2024

‘A difficult, complicated week’: French ‘bollard men’ reflect on Bondi attack

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker May14,2024
Key Points
  • Two French men who were praised for their bravery during the Bondi stabbing attack have spoken to SBS French.
  • Damien Guerot and Silas Despréaux confronted the attacker during the incident, using bollards for protection.
  • Video footage went viral online and Guerot was later offered permanent residency in Australia.
A week and a half after the , “bollard men” Damien Guerot and Silas Despréaux have about the Bondi stabbings and its aftermath.
and several others were hospitalised in the at Bondi Junction Westfield on 13 April.
The two French men fended off 40-year-old Cauchi and were praised for their efforts during the incident, with Guerot later for his bravery.
Guerot, who has lived in Australia for eight years, said he was pleased to get permanent residency, but the circumstances had left him with a “weird feeling”.
“For some, it’s a walk in the park and for others, it’s a real quest!

“I did two years of working holidays, had to work in farms, then I had to get a student visa for five years, and then a COVID visa, while I was preparing a skilled visa … which is why I still can’t believe I’ve got permanent residency,” he said.

“I’ve wanted it for a very long time and I feel incredibly lucky, especially because it was granted by the prime minister, but I can’t celebrate it, because, at the same time, there are families grieving.
“So it’s a weird feeling. On one side I’m happy and on the other, there is how I got it, so it’s really a weird feeling.”
Guerot and Despréaux were in the shopping centre during the rampage and said their first reaction was to run away, but then grabbed the bollards to defend themselves.

“I was looking for the right opportunity to throw the bollard at him but it was difficult with the moving escalator,” Guerot said.

“I was really staring at him in the eyes, to show him we intended to stop him, that we too were determined, in order to get him to walk back by scaring him with that bollard.
The men said they later ran outside, where they spotted police inspector Amy Scott arriving.
“I’m not even sure she knew what was going on, and we kept telling her to draw her gun, that the guy was armed and dangerous, that he was onto us and that he needed to be eliminated,” Guerot said.

Video footage of their actions during the attack was picked up on video and shared around the world.

at the attention they received.
“It’s been a difficult, complicated week. We weren’t expecting such interest for this story,” he said.
“Things are just starting to settle down and last night was actually the first I slept properly.”
Despréaux said they are looking forward to life returning to some form of normalcy after being catapulted into the public eye.

“That’s what we’re hoping for, go back to quiet, and start thinking about something else.”

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

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One thought on “‘A difficult, complicated week’: French ‘bollard men’ reflect on Bondi attack”
  1. I am amazed by the bravery and selflessness shown by Damien Guerot and Silas Despréaux during the Bondi stabbing attack. It’s heartwarming to see individuals risking their own safety to protect others. Their actions truly reflect the best of humanity.

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