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South African Police Fire at Mine Strikers

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MARIKANA, South Africa — South African riot police officers opened fire on striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine on Thursday, killing at least a dozen men in the deadliest episode of a week of union violence.

Heavily armed officers backed by armored 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, 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg.

The 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, Reuters television footage showed.

Guess Nelson Mandela is sorry to have been in jail for this to happen... Looks like the old deKlerk and Botha days.

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Posted (edited)

You forgot the link. :P

Edited by Coffey

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Seems kind of odd that the 'bullets threw up clouds of dust'... Were the police shooting low? Granted I don't know the lay of the land or the terrain in any way, but I've seen mass volleys of gunfire in quite a few types of terrain and seldom saw 'a cloud of dust', unless the volley was fired into the ground (or a berm of dirt, etc)...

I guess what I'm wondering is did the police fire directly at the rioters, or - in an attempt to disperse them - did they just fire too close?

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How did the cradle of humanity end up being so behind and violent?

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Hard to believe that they shoot each other while the police officers should've joined the protest.

Finally a group of ppl you hear about that demands a higher pay. ... and the police shoots them.

All that for a company that takes their resources and is co-responsible for damning the nation to live in poverty.

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i heard the miners were advancing on police with machetes and clubs?

Scratch that. Just found a link. If an army of armed miners are coming towards me with weapons, I'm shooting. It was all filmed by Reuters, clink on the link if you want to see it.

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They were advancing like they were for 3 days straight.

The police had been negotiating with them all those days.

"Just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, after repeated warnings to the crowd of about 3,000 miners to disarm and disperse, the police began firing tear gas and water cannons to try to get them to leave, witnesses said. In video captured by several news organizations, the police appeared to fire upon a group of workers who charged toward them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/world/africa/south-african-police-fire-on-striking-miners.html

seems like someone just lost their patience...

They should've just joined forces and went up to Lonmin (British Company - nothing african about it) and demanded some respect and higher pay.

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Mate, the way they were charging with weapons raised hardly said "please negotiate with me". There was a direct threat to the live of the police sent to the region because of a dispute between two miners unions.

Have you seen that video??

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Posted (edited)

look, life there is different. Unions there don't come on the street with whistles and banners. They go on the street with machetes, guns and whatever they want.

They had been negotiating for 3 full days.

Thereafter the police was feeling they were running out of time and threw tear gas up in there.

the workers charged, the police reacted

The police in Africa is more aggressive anyway. It's like America, but with less rules.

The fact that they fought each other while they should've been fighting together against the one that extorts the countries resources is wrong.

Edited by Render

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Ooft, that video was carnage. They were just mown down. Brutal.

I can sort of understand the police defending themselves, but there were no warning shots, no rubber bullets, no aiming at legs or the ground in front of them - nothing non-lethal to deter the protesters.

I think the shooting was intended to send a clear message to the protesters.

Edited by ExpandMyMind

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Seems justified if they where running at them with machettes etc.

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A sad situation but if you start running at guys with guns with a machette they're going to take you down.

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The reporter on CNN said he protesters shot first, I couldn't see any miners with guns in the videos. I guess it doesn't mean here weren't any it just seems like an odd thing to say.

I feel bad for the whole continent of Africa, the rest of the world has been taking their resources for a very long time and providing nothing of value in return.

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The reporter on CNN said he protesters shot first, I couldn't see any miners with guns in the videos. I guess it doesn't mean here weren't any it just seems like an odd thing to say.

I feel bad for the whole continent of Africa, the rest of the world has been taking their resources for a very long time and providing nothing of value in return.

I thought I saw a single muzzle flash on the left side of the crowd but I only perceived it after the main shooting began. They no doubt were sending a message. It's not much better than outright slavery from the looks of it. The mine and it's owners should be boycotted.
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Lovely.

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How did the cradle of humanity end up being so behind and violent?

That is where humanity came from, violence comes with being human.

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I've been reading about the violence in South Africa. Those miners have been hacking up cops and other people with those machetes. SA is the most unionized place in the world and their unions are pretty violent. Can't really blame the cops for shooting them.

I think the miners need better treatment and wages but this isn't going to get it for them.

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in related news:

Striking South African miners 'were shot in the back'

Striking miners shot dead by police at South Africa's Lonmin mine were reportedly hit in the back suggesting they were fleeing rather than attacking.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that most of the 34 victims of the police action on August 16 were shot in the back while a smaller number were shot while facing forward, Johannesburg's Star newspaper reported citing sources close to the investigation.

If proved correct, the leaked results could contradict police claims that they only opened fire after being fired upon.

Those working to keep the peace in the northwestern town of Marikana, where the Lonmin platinum mine is situated, said they feared that the report could inflame tensions further in the still febrile atmosphere.

Read more

... it looks like miners attack the police running backwards in South Africa....

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Or the police just opened fire as a group and didn't stop until someone needed to reload. A message was being sent here. I think the miners got it. I don't know if Lonmin is publicly held but if it is then anyone who owns stock is responsible. Anyone who does business with them in any way is responsible. Those miners are treated like slaves and it's a damned disgrace.

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Lonmin miners in South Africa 'to go back to work'

Striking miners at a Lonmin-owned platinum mine in South Africa have agreed to return to work on Thursday, mediators and reports say.

Miners cheered when they were told of a proposed 22% pay rise, a witness told Reuters news agency.

But South Africa's labour dispute body told the BBC it was waiting to hear if the latest pay offer had been accepted.

Last month, police opened fire on demonstrators at the mine in Marikana, killing 34 striking workers.

Production at the mine has been paralysed for weeks and unrest has spread to other mines.

'Mission accomplished'

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration told the BBC a delegation of workers representatives had gone to inform the striking miners of the latest offer on Tuesday afternoon.

The workers, most of who are rock drill operators, gathered to hear the address at a football pitch near the Marikana mine in Rustenburg, which is the centre of platinum mining in South Africa - about 80km (50 mile) north-east of Johannesburg.

They have been demanding a salary of 12,500 rand ($1,513; £935) - they currently earn between 4,000 and 5,000 rand.

"What has happened here has been a victory really for the workers, and they're going to work on Thursday morning," AFP news agency quotes mediator Johannes Seoka, the Bishop of Pretoria, as saying.

One worker held up a hand with the phrase "mission accomplished" written in black ink, AP news reported.

Bishop Seoka, from the South African Council of Churches, told the BBC there would also be a one-off payment of 2,000 rand to help cover the weeks of not being paid while they were on strike.

He refused to give any further details of the offer and said he was going back to the Lonmin management to finalise the deal on Tuesday night.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma said that the disruption had cost the industry $548m in lost output.

He has ordered a judicial inquiry into what has become known as the "Marikana massacre" - the most deadly police action since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Meanwhile, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) says it has re-opened its mines and expects them to be in fully working by Wednesday.

The world's largest platinum producer suspended its operations last week after thousands of people protested outside one of its Rustenburg mines.

The BBC's Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says there is a risk that the deal could trigger new turmoil in other mines - given the Lonmin action was an illegal strike that involved serious intimidation.

But there is also hope that, at least in the short term, the crisis that has spread through parts of South Africa's mining sector may be coming to an end, he says.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19641510

YES!!!

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