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South African Worker Protest Turns Violent in Mining Town

One person was assaulted as labor union members gathered to protest the dismissal of striking South African mineworkers, a police spokeswoman said.

Police used rubber bullets and a stun grenade to disperse non-unionized workers who clashed with union members in Rustenburg today, Imelda Sethlako, a police spokeswoman, said by phone. Seven people were arrested for holding an unlawful gathering, she said.

“A group of disgruntled people standing outside the stadium attacked me,” Billy Zulu, national coordinator of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union, said by phone from Rustenburg. “They hit me hard on the head with something. I got four stitches.”

Miners at South African platinum mines began a wildcat strike in August that led to the killing of 44 people, including 34 shot by police near Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mine on Aug. 16. Stoppages spread to gold, coal and iron ore mines, with workers demanding higher wages.

About 5,000 people attended the meeting arranged by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Sethlako said. The meeting was called in solidarity with striking mineworkers fired by platinum and gold mines recently.

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