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The Plight of South African Miners Continues

Thousands of people gathered in the South African town of Marikana to mark a decade since dozens of striking workers were killed in the worst act of police violence since the end of apartheid. On August 16, 2012, 34 people were killed and 78 injured when police opened fire on platinum mine workers who had gathered on a hill near the mine to press demands for better wages and housing. “10 Years of Betrayal,” said T-shirts worn by many at the commemoration on Tuesday, expressing bitterness that those killed have not received justice and that promises of better pay and conditions for the miners have not been fulfilled. Clustered on a small hilltop around 100 kilometres (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, where the shootings took place, the miners sang mournful songs and chants. Many at the event wore green and black, the colours of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union that led the strike. Videos of police opening fire on the miners shocked South Africa and were broadcast around the world, sparking outrage and leading to a commission of inquiry to investigate the police actions. An official inquiry placed much of the blame for the deaths on police tactics, finding that an operation to remove the miners should not have gone ahead. It cleared senior government officials of any culpability.