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

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

Damien Guerot has been nicknamed the ‘Bollard Man’ on social media because of security camera footage showing him standing at the top of an escalator and threatening Joel Cauchi with a plastic bollard as he approaches. Cauchi fled down the escalator and the 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 processing his visa applications, that you are welcome here, you are welcome to stay as long as you want,” Prime Minister said Anthony Albanese told reporters Tuesday.

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

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Guerot’s lawyer Belinda Robinson told SBS News that the government had given assurances late on Tuesday that he would be granted a permanent resident visa for Australia.

Guerot was among those praised for intervening in the attack. Officials say the toll could have been much higher. Police said the attacker targeted women; five were among the dead.

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

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