28 August, 2012 — RT
South African police are facing accusations of mass murder after autopsies on the victims of a bloody crackdown at Marikana platinum mine, showed that miners were shot in the back. Meanwhile, new violence has broken out at the location.
Police claim they used weapons to defend themselves against a wave of strikers after first trying to quell them with tear gas and water cannons. Thirty-six people were killed during the standoff, only two of them policemen. The protesters, numbering in there thousands, were calling for pay rises.
But post-mortem results of the victims suggest that the strikers posed no danger to the law enforcers at the time of the shooting.
“The post-mortem reports indicate that most of the people were fleeing from the police when they got killed,” a police source told Johannesburg’s Star newspaper. “A lot of them were shot in the back and the bullets exited through their chests. Only a few people were found to be shot from the front.”
Eyewitness reports previously indicated that a small group of protesters charged at the police barricade with machetes and clubs, fired a stolen police gun, and killed two officers before the uniformed men unleashed a deadly 3-minute hail of bullets.
An official spokesman refused to confirm or deny the accusations on what’s already being dubbed the Marikana Massacre – the most violent episode in South Africa’s history since the 1994 fall of apartheid.
But the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), a police watchdog, is investigating the miners’ deaths as murders.
It also says that miners have launched dozens of complaints accusing the police of brutal treatment when they were arrested in the aftermath of the skirmish.
Released mine workers say they were beaten with batons as officers tried to find out who was responsible for the initial attack on policemen.
A man addresses striking mine workers as they gather on August 27, 2012, at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana (AFP Photo / Stephane De Sakutin)
Miners gather as a police vehicle is parked nearby on August 27, 2012 at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana (AFP Photo / Stephane De Sakutin)
Striking mine workers gather on August 27, 2012, at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana (AFP Photo / Stephane De Sakutin)