South African Mine Clash Kills 35
MAIL & GUARDIAN, SABC (South Africa), BBC NEWS (UK), CNN (USA)
JOHANNESBURG- Thirty-five people were killed Thursday in a shooting between police and miners in Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg, reports the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, confirmed this figure, bringing the death toll to 45 since the strike started at the mine last Friday, reports SABC.
According to witnesses, police opened fire on the strikers, who were armed mostly with clubs and machetes, reports BBC News.
The circumstances that led police to open fire remain unclear, but eyewitness reports suggest the shooting took place after a group of miners rushed at a line of police officers, adds BBC News.
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The Marikana mine, owned by the world's third-largest platinum producer Lonmin, has been at the center of a violent pay dispute and exacerbated by tensions between two rival trade unions: the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mine Workers and Construction Union (AMCU).
The miners, who earn between $300 and $500 a month, are demanding $1,500 a month, explains CNN.
This is the worse police-related death toll since the end of apartheid in 1994. Labor unions have called for an inquiry into what actually happened, reports the Mail & Guardian.
In January, three people were killed during a strike at the world's second-largest platinum mine, run by Impala Platinum. Trade union rivalry was also blamed for the violence.