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South African miners march, ignore calls by bosses

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Striking South African platinum miners stayed off the job on Monday and marched to press wage demands at major producer Lonmin as 15,000 workers at the world's fourth biggest bullion producer, Gold Fields also downed tools. Thousands of Lonmin workers were defying a Monday deadline to return to shafts that have been idle for a month at the Marikana mine, 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg. Growing labor unrest is challenging the ruling ANC's claim to be able to defend workers' interests while ensuring stable economic growth. It culminated in mid-August in violent clashes with police in which 44 people were killed at Marikana, most of them strikers shot by police officers. The killings conjured up painful memories of similar incidents under racist apartheid rule, which ended in 1994. Police have said they opened fire in self-defense but fresh testimony that officers shot men who were fleeing or surrendering seems likely to deepen anger against the security forces and the African National Congress (ANC). The marching strikers chanted "The White Men are shaking!" and "The police who shot us are shaking!". Lonmin said only 6.3 percent of its shift workers had reported for work on Monday. This compared with 2 percent on Friday.

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