MARIKANA, South Africa – Ululating women and hundreds of striking miners waving sticks marched Wednesday to a South African platinum mine near another mine where police killed 34 of their co-workers, pressing demands for higher wages and insisting that those at the second mine join the strike.
A line of seven police armored personnel carriers stood between the throng of singing, dancing strikers and their supporters and the green-roofed Karee mine complex. Police helicopters hovered overhead. March organizers got people to sit down peacefully. Some waved branches. People in the front of the solid line of strikers held logs to keep people from surging forward. Armed police in riot gear with helmets and visors looked on.
The hundreds of marchers had been joined along the march routes by hundreds more people who broke branches off trees. The miners said they were matching to Karee Mine where they planned to stop people from working. As they walked, the strikers were dancing, stamping their feet and kicking up dust. Unlike previous protests, the miners carried only sticks and were not armed with spears and machetes that they brandished in previous protests.
One man said all they want is a monthly minimum wage of R12,500 ($1,560).
The London-registered Lonmin PLC mine has warned that the strike that began Aug. 10 could cost 40,000 jobs if it continues. The mine remains shut down with fewer than 5 percent of miners turning up for work.
The police shootings happened at the Marikana mine owned by Lonmin, which also owns the nearby Karee mine.