JOHANNESBURG: South African police said they used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse about 3,000 “violent” striking miners Tuesday in the country’s restive platinum belt.
Strikers “carrying dangerous weapons, such as knobkerries and sticks, blocked the road and were threatening to remove non-striking workers at the shaft,” police said in a statement. The incident occurred at Anglo American Platinum’s Khuseleka 1 facility in the country’s north. It marks the first instance of major unrest in the sector-wide strike, now in its second week. “Police were forced to use stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd,” the force said, adding that two protesters aged 52 and 47 were arrested. They face charges of public violence. The incident will raise fears of a return to violent strikes that have seen dozens of workers killed at the hands of rival unions and the police.
Around 80,000 members of the radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) downed tools on January 23 calling for a minimum monthly wage of 12,500-rand ($1,100) — almost double their current pay.
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