Police to disperse Lonmin protesters

2012-08-16 13:02
A police officer sits in a casper outside the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

A police officer sits in a casper outside the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Rustenburg - North West police said on Thursday they would disperse a group of miners gathered on top of a hill in Wonderkop, near Rustenburg, where protests have left 10 dead.

"Today [Thursday] we are going to disperse those people. We want to end this violence today," said North West provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo.

She said the plan was to disperse the crowd peacefully, but she could not say what the police would do if the miners refused.

A large number of men armed with pangas and rocks have gathered on top of the hill since Saturday. A large group had assembled there by 08:00 on Thursday.

A police helicopter hovered above the hill. On the ground, various police units were stationed strategically near the hill. Nyalas with trailers of razor wire were at the ready.

The police warned journalists not to approach the hill, but to remain at a designated area about 800m away.

The road leading to the mine was closed and access to the mine was being restricted.

Mbombo denied that the army had been deployed in the area.

"Members of the army are not deployed here. What you see is the various units of the police."

Two men wrapped in green blankets came down from the hill and approached a police van. After a brief discussion they returned and indicated to the singing group to move to the left of the mountain.

Mbombo said about 400 police officers had been deployed to the area.
Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  strikes  |  mining  |  mining unrest

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