andrej
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At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:23 am

Sad news for all involved.   Apparently at least 30 miners/workers were killed by the local police department in South Africa. The miners/workers were are on strike for 6 days at Marikana platinum mining complex (belongs to Lonmin), and when police used measure to disperse the crowd (by firing tear gas), workers started to move towards the police officers.

Police calls it an act of self defense, but I do question why the police department did not use non-lethal measures? Such as rubber bullets? Crowd control is a tough one to manage (now this from experience), but there are many recent cases when police was able to manage angry crowds without killing any of the protesters (i.e. Spain).

I am utterly disgusted by the action of police (do they lack training, skills?). Had this occurred in some other location (e.g. Eastern Europe, Iran, or Syria) and police would use 'self-defense' claim, you would hear many loud voices of how tyrannical the system is, and how the poor protesters were massacred. I guess the 'Animal Farm' quote is fitting: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Cheers,

Andrej

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...d-as-police-disperse-strikers.html
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:35 am

Quoting andrej (Thread starter):
workers started to move towards the police officers.

A large mob armed with machetes and pumped up with testosterone and adreneline... They were not "innocent" strikers if they were walking around brandishing machetes. 2 Policemen had been killed since the 'strike' began. If the police used non-lethal tear gas first (as they did), and then they still advanced on Police, then unfortunately this is always going to be the outcome. We aren't talking about toothless western student protesters with chips on their shoulders here - This is a continent where things escalate extremely quickly and in many case extremely violently.

I believe they did what any of us would have done in the situation.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:38 am

according to the BBC yesterday the miners were armed with traditional weapons, like machetes, swords and spears. They refused to disarm when the police told them so and instead threw objects at the police, which the police took for grenades (Miners --> access to explosives at work) and Molotov cocktails. Police officers have been killed too during the last few days.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19245758

Also, not all police forces use rubber bullets (or baton rounds). E.g. Germany does not. So there the police have the choice between distance weapons like tear gas or water cannon, baton charges (high risk if the opponent is armed) or opening live fire.
Baton rounds also have proven to be lethal, especially if fired from a distance of less than 50 metres. Standard practice in the British military is to aim at the floor in front of the perp and let the ricocheting round hit the lower body (with a bit of less force) than a directly aimed shot.

The whole situation is complcated because the whole thing is a three sided conflict. It is not only miners versus police, but also miners of two rival unions against each other.

Jan
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na
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:37 am

There is a shocking video on spiegel.de showing the massacre itself from directly behind the police line. A densely packed mob, not clear how many and how many are armed, is running out of the bush towards the police which partly retreats and then opens fire from a distance of ca. 20 - 30 m. It looks like in those old films when warriors with spears attack and are machinegunned by colonial troops. Certainly the attackers look like as if they wanted to do serious harm to the police. I cant say if the police had another chance than to shoot. Maybe this, but the distance was very close:

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):
Standard practice in the British military is to aim at the floor in front of the perp and let the ricocheting round hit the lower body (with a bit of less force) than a directly aimed shot.

What did drive the strikers to this clearly suicidal attack? Beside the horror it looks absolutely stupid. They were either in deepest despair, or criminals, or both.
 
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casinterest
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:16 am

Quoting na (Reply 3):
There is a shocking video on spiegel.de showing the massacre itself from directly behind the police line. A densely packed mob, not clear how many and how many are armed, is running out of the bush towards the police which partly retreats and then opens fire from a distance of ca. 20 - 30 m. It looks like in those old films when warriors with spears attack and are machinegunned by colonial troops. Certainly the attackers look like as if they wanted to do serious harm to the police. I cant say if the police had another chance than to shoot. Maybe this, but the distance was very close

This is a tragedy. The outcome should not have come about, and it would seem the Police were poorly trained and equipped for such a situation.


But it would also seem with 2 rival unions that were already not interested in a peaceful strike, there waas nothing but escalation left. Very sad outcome. People are dead, and the protest issue is probably no closer to resolution than before.
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na
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:48 pm

A video on Aljazeera makes it look a bit different, not like the police hadnt a choice. It appears like the police erected something of a cattle corral with their armoured vehicles and when the protesters which appear all to have carried weapons of some kind where fenced in at three sides single shots are fired from police hidden behind the trucks, then the mob starts running forward towards the police line and is gunned down, while the survivors are running away.
 
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Aesma
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:57 pm

The weapons the police is using are very questionable, and they don't even try to shoot in the legs when with those assault rifles it would surely have stopped the mob just the same.
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thegreatRDU
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:09 am

This is a mob that killed two police officers before.....this is a mob armed with machetes and firearms....the police did what they had to do.

Quoting andrej (Thread starter):
Police calls it an act of self defense, but I do question why the police department did not use non-lethal measures? Such as rubber bullets? Crowd control is a tough one to manage (now this from experience), but there are many recent cases when police was able to manage angry crowds without killing any of the protesters (i.e. Spain).
Quoting andrej (Thread starter):
I am utterly disgusted by the action of police (do they lack training, skills?). Had this occurred in some other location (e.g. Eastern Europe, Iran, or Syria) and police would use 'self-defense' claim, you would hear many loud voices of how tyrannical the system is, and how the poor protesters were massacred. I guess the 'Animal Farm' quote is fitting: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Andrej, have you seen the videos?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrGdveXN4OM&feature=g-hist

Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):
and they don't even try to shoot in the legs

My god I can't even respond to this...
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na
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:45 pm

This mob gets 400 Euros a month and lives in shacks most European or AMerican farmers wouldnt keep their pigs. This mob works digging platinum for the richest people in the world who apparently havent a penny for them. Their demand for tripling wages was of cause ridiculously over the top, but despair creates mobs. Treat people as you would like yourself to be treated and there is no mob.
No excuse to attack the police with weapons though, thats was as wrong as it was stupid. Lesson: better next time they should turn to the managers responsible for their plight instead of attacking the police.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:41 pm

Quoting casinterest (Reply 4):
The outcome should not have come about, and it would seem the Police were poorly trained and equipped for such a situation.

This is South Africa, I very much doubt the Police were poorly trained and equipped.
 
QFA380
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:35 am

This is a horrific thing to happen but blaming the police is overreaching a little.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):

The weapons the police is using are very questionable, and they don't even try to shoot in the legs when with those assault rifles it would surely have stopped the mob just the same.

You are joking right? I'd love to see you aiming for the legs in that situation, not to mention running legs are a much smaller target to hit and have limited effectiveness, they were also running up a slight embankment while crouching, one man's legs is another man's torso.

Here is the video na was referring to, fair warning it's very graphic showing the actual shooting.
http://www.spiegel.de/video/gewalt-i...e-in-platinmine-video-1215733.html

As you can see they strikers ran straight through tear gas canisters.
Make your own mind up. Given some context that two of their comrades had already been butchered and that fate likely would have awaited them if they had of waited only 15 seconds before shooting. No police go to work wanting to kill people and mobs are extremely unpredictable.

Quoting na (Reply 3):
warriors with spears attack and are machinegunned by colonial troops

Add an extra dimension of racial hate in why don't you, plenty of black cops in there too.
 
cmf
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:11 pm

Quoting na (Reply 8):
This mob gets 400 Euros a month and lives in shacks most European or AMerican farmers wouldnt keep their pigs. This mob works digging platinum for the richest people in the world who apparently havent a penny for them. Their demand for tripling wages was of cause ridiculously over the top, but despair creates mobs. Treat people as you would like yourself to be treated and there is no mob.
No excuse to attack the police with weapons though, thats was as wrong as it was stupid. Lesson: better next time they should turn to the managers responsible for their plight instead of attacking the police.

  
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Kiwirob
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:14 pm

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 10):

Add an extra dimension of racial hate in why don't you, plenty of black cops in there too.

It looks like they were all black cops, not even white officers in charge, this has absolutely nothing to do with race IMO.
 
andrej
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RE: At Least 30 Dead In South Africa

Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:51 am

Thanks for all your input. I apologize for late reply. To be honest I never visited the country (South Africa), but have a few friends from there (maybe it gives me a very little idea about such beautiful and interesting country). I understand that things are little different, but can not accept 'this is Africa / not western World' argument (next time protesters/people - with sticks/machetes - are shot/killed in Egypt, Syria, Zimbabwe, wherever, are we going to use the same argument? -> Police feared for their lives, thus they shot them).

Police officers were not prepared to deal with this strike (be it due to poor training, lack of crowd skills, lack of equipment, or poor tactical preparation/leadership). Nonetheless, an independent judicial inquiry had been set up to investigate this incident. I hope that police leadership can learn from this.

After the killings, about 3,000 strikes refused to leave and used more passive strike (they basically sat on a hill, supported by their family members). According to the Bloomberg about 9,200 workers out of 28,000 workers returned to work (compared to about 8,400 couple of days ago; despite threats made of loosing their jobs; that have been withdrawn).

Indeed this is a sad story for all involved.

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 10):
Add an extra dimension of racial hate in why don't you, plenty of black cops in there too.

   No racial thing here. Actually there were very few white police officers, and what I saw on videos, they were first to stop shooting and ordered others to stop as well.

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 1):
We aren't talking about toothless western student protesters with chips on their shoulders here

I had on mind Spanish miners, that used makeshift weapons and were successful in driving out police officers (when they were blocking some mines). Then miners marched to Madrid, where luck turned on them. There was yet another clash with the police, and police won that round.

Quoting thegreatRDU (Reply 7):
Andrej, have you seen the videos?

Yes I did saw several videos from the incident. Still believe that police action was unprofessional.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):
Also, not all police forces use rubber bullets (or baton rounds). E.g. Germany does not.

Wow, I would have thought that police in Germany would utilize/use rubber bullets. Thanks for that info!

Lonmin (the company) that owns the mine (Marikana Mine -> largest mine in their network) stated that due to ongoing strike it may struggle to refinance loans (along with decline of price of platinum). Also it is interesting to see infighting of unions for the members. But this is definitely for another topic.

I find it ironic that Bloomberg gives this story more attention, than the BBC.

Cheers,

Andrej

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