MARIKANA, South Africa (AP) — Striking miners hungry after five weeks of no pay and enraged by police firing rubber bullets and tear gas are threatening to march despite a government-ordered clampdown to halt illegal protests and strikes damaging South Africa’s critical mining sector.
Armed soldiers and police in armored cars stood at the ready Monday at Lonmin PLC’s platinum mine.
The presence of 1,000 soldiers trucked into the “platinum belt” 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg has escalated tensions over union rivalries and higher pay demands that have stopped work at one gold and six platinum mines.
On Saturday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a shantytown neighboring Lonmin mine, where officers killed 34 miners on Aug. 16. On Sunday, police persuaded hundreds of Anglo American strikers to halt an illegal protest without violence.