South African Police Raid Mine Workers’ Hostel

Posted September 15th, 2012 at 6:45 am (UTC-5)
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Witnesses say South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets on mine workers gathered in a shantytown near Marikana, after carrying out early-morning raids on worker hostels where they seized a number of weapons.

The latest violence came a day after the government vowed to crack down on illegal gatherings and strikers carrying weapons.

A police spokesman said about 500 officers raided the hostels early Saturday, seizing machetes, spears, and other weapons. The spokesman said they arrested five workers for drug dealing. Some 6,000 workers live at the hostels.

This was the latest phase in five weeks of strikes and violence at mines, where workers are demanding higher wages. At least 44 people have been killed.

Lonmin workers launched a strike in August after union negotiations broke down. On August 16, strikers clashed with police in Marikana, leading police to shoot and kill 34 demonstrators. The government has ordered an investigation into the violence, which took place about 100 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg.