South Africa - Police Fire On Striking Miners Leaving Several Dead


South African riot police opened fire on striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on Thursday, killing several men in the deadliest episode of a week of union violence.
Heavily armed officers backed by armoured vehicles were laying out barbed wire barricades when they were outflanked by some of the estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.
Police opened fire with automatic weapons on a group of men who burst out from behind a vehicle. The volley of bullets threw up clouds of dust, which cleared to reveal at least seven bodies lying on the ground.
South Africa's SAPA news agency said one of its reporters had counted 18 bodies.
It was not clear whether the police were fired on. Photographs showed spears and clubs lying near the bodies.
Police said several days of talks with leaders of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which was representing most of the strikers, had broken down, leaving no option but to disperse them by force.
"Today is unfortunately D-day," police spokesman Dennis Adriao said.
Before Thursday's clashes, 10 people, including two policemen, had died in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions at the mine, the latest platinum plant to be hit by an eight-month union turf war in the world's main producer of the precious metal.
On Wednesday, up to 3,000 police officers, including members of an elite, camouflage-wearing riot control unit backed by helicopters and horses, confronted the striking rock-drill operators, but there were no clashes.
Before the police advance, Joseph Mathunjwa, president of AMCU, which has been on a big recruitment push in South Africa's platinum mines, said there would be bloodshed if police moved in.
"We're going nowhere," he shouted through a loud-hailer, to cheers from the crowd. "If need be, we're prepared to die here."

1 comment

  1. they didn't shoot any white... SA is still doing this anti black thing? Shame on them for being ashamed of being called black africa.


    Peaceman

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