Posted by copwatch | Thu, 08/23/2012 - 12:32am story
Police massacre striking miners by Abayomi Azikiwe, Aug 22, 2012
Aug. 20 — Striking platinum miners have defied Lonmin Platinum PLC’s back to work orders and continue their job action in Marikana, South Africa, despite a horrific police massacre and threats of termination. This is the British-based, multibillion-dollar firm’s latest ultimatum to the mineworkers, who walked off their jobs on Aug. 10 to protest low salaries and poor working conditions.
On Aug. 16, police opened fire with automatic weapons on hundreds of striking miners, killing 34 workers and wounding 78 others. They failed to disperse from a hill near the mining facility, which is located outside Rustenburg in South Africa’s North West province.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma declared a week of mourning. The South African people have been in a state of shock and outrage since a week of violence culminated with the police massacre of the striking miners.
On Aug. 18, family members of the slain, wounded and arrested miners demonstrated near the Lonmin facilities, demanding information on the fate of their loved ones.
The authorities also arrested 259 miners. Some appeared in court on Aug.20, when they were remanded to stay in custody and a hearing was set for Aug. 27. Other arrested workers have not been located.
Despite orders to return to work, it appears that most rock-drill operators and their assistants have refused to listen to the company bosses. They are demanding their monthly pay be increased from R4,000 ($480) to R12,500 ($1,560).