Friday, August 17, 2012

Video of police shootings of 30 miners in SA

When people protest in the western world, it is like a love affair between the protesters and the police. They push each other, tug at each other’s beards and wrestle each other to the ground.  

In the more ferocious ones, protesters deface police cars and hurl projectiles that policemen at the front lines easily ward off with their transparent shields.

Police need no firearms to quell such protests. Only shields, batons, pepper spray, tear gas cannisters, water canons, etc. But it is in Africa you will find people protesting poor pay who will be armed with machetes, bows and arrows and spears.

You cannot in all conscience ask policemen to quell that sort of unrest armed with only transparent shields and baton.  Not even when 10 men, including policemen have been ruthlessly killed by the so called protesters in the course of the week, under the pretext of protesting poor pay.

Nomatter what anybody says, I cannot blame the policemen who frantically opened fire when the men advanced on them with their crude weapons. If they hadn’t, many lives would still have been lost, but it would have been the lives of the policemen, and maybe a few journalists hiding behind them.

Meanwhile, the South African police have officially admitted they killed over 30 miners in the incident at a Lonmin PLC platinum mine near 65 kilometres from Johannesburg. 86 others were injured.Police officers told newsmen they opened fire on a horde of striking miners who charged at them with dangerous weapons.

People were gathering at hospitals in the area, hoping to find missing family members among the wounded.

Makhosi Mbongane, a 32-year-old winch operator, said mine managers should have come to the workers rather than send police. Strikers were demanding salary raises from $625 to $1,563. Mbongane vowed that he was not going back to work and would not allow anyone else to do so either.

He accused mine managers of trampling on the workers and vowed that they would not relent in their fight for better treatment. "If they employ other people they won't be able to work either, we will stay here and kill them."

The South Africa Police Service defended officers' actions, saying in a statement that they were "viciously attacked by the group, using a variety of weapons, including firearms. The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defence, were forced to engage the group with force."

Shocked South Africans watched replay after replay of video of the shooting that erupted Thursday afternoon after police failed to get the striking miners to hand over machetes, clubs and home-made spears. Two police officers had been beaten to death earlier in the week.

Some miners did leave, though others carrying weapons began war chants and marched toward the township near the mine, said Molaole Montsho, a journalist with the South African Press Association who was at the scene. The police opened up with a water cannon first, then used stun grenades and tear gas to try and break up the crowd, Montsho said.

Suddenly, a group of miners rushed through the underbrush and tear gas at a line of police officers. Officers immediately opened fire, with miners falling to the ground. Dozens of shots were fired by police armed with automatic rifles and pistols.

At least 10 people had been killed in the one week of strike by the miners, including two policemen and three security officers.

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