South Africa in Mourning: Memorials held for 44 people killed in Marikana mine violence (VIDEO)


A woman is comforted during a memorial service for the 44 people killed in a wildcat strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine on August 23, 2012 in Marikana. Lonmin and nearby Impala Platinum closed for the day as workers prepared for memorials, including the main national service at Marikana where police gunned down 34 miners a week ago after deadly clashes had already claimed 10 people. The service at Lonmin will be the focal point during a day of mourning that will stretch across the country, as many of the victims were migrant workers whose bodies have already returned to their home villages.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Memorial events are taking place around South Africa today for 44 people killed in violence at the Marikana platinum mine, including 34 striking workers who died in a volley of police gunfire.

At a crowded service held at the Lonmin-owned mine, near the city of Rustenburg, family members of the victims cried and collapsed. South Africa's health minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, pitched in to help treat them.

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The South African Press Association said more than a thousand people, including residents of the area, politicians, and dozens of religious leaders, gathered under a white marquee. A second marquee was erected to hold the overflow of mourners.

Flags are flying at half-mast throughout South Africa during this national week of mourning in memory of those killed at Marikana.

In the week before last Thursday's shooting of strikers by police, 10 people, including two police officers, had died in clashes at the mine, sparked by a turf war between rival unions.

An estimated 3,000 striking workers had gathered to protest on a hill near the Marikana mine, about 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg, demanding higher pay.

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