'Worst dream’

Tram is filled with flowers in mourners’ unique tribute to student Aiia Maasarwe, murdered while walking home

In a heartbreaking tribute, mourners filled a tram with flowers on Friday, as it made its way through Melbourne to a makeshift floral memorial, at the site where Aiia Maasarwe’s body was found on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Palestinian student had been brutally murdered, close to where she stepped off the tram home, just after midnight, after seeing a comedy show in the city center.

All along the route, people stood and waited for the 8.01pm service of the number 86 tram to arrive, handing over bouquets or single roses to those on board as the doors opened. Some held candles. Some joined the ride, if only for a few stops. “Is this the flower tram?” asked someone who was waiting with a bouquet.

The laden tram was eventually greeted by hundreds of mourners at the site where Maasarwe’s  body was found next to a shopping centre. Two other trams marked “not in service” followed, filled with other mourners who had attended a vigil at Parliament House earlier in the evening.

Earlier in the evening, Maasarwe’s father Saeed thanked a large group that gathered to pay their respects on the steps of Melbourne’s Parliament House. More than 1,000 held the vigil in silence, broken only when Saeed asked to thank the crowd.

Earlier, he told reporters that losing Aiia was his “worst dream”.

“She was very happy here, she liked everything here in Australia,” he said. “The five months she was here, she has enjoyed, she has had a good time here. And then this has come: The very worst. The most worst it can be.”

Aiia, an Israeli national from the predominantly Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, was in Australia on a student exchange program. She was killed between midnight and 1a.m. on Wednesday morning as she made the 1000-yard walk between the tram stop and her off-campus apartment.  She had spent the afternoon with a group of international students, practicing their English, then went to a comedy club with friends.

Police arrested a 20-year-old man on Friday and detained him for questioning about her death, but no charges have been announced.

Read the full story at The Age and The Guardian.

Related

Teen killed by abusive ex-partner reported him to police five times before her death

Thousands mourn murdered Australian comedian — and accuse authorities of victim blaming

Slain college student found dead on campus was killed by former boyfriend, police say

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *