The world was shocked by TV images last week of striking South African miners being mowed down by police gunfire. But the truth behind the massacre is even more shocking.
The slaughter was not a tragic error of judgement. It was deliberate. The state forces were not protecting themselves from armed workers. They were executing a premeditated plan.
And the striking workers were not charing at the police when they were shot down. They had already been surrounded and were running away from police firing beihind them.
This is the picture that emerges from eyewitness testimony and examinations of the site by a team of Johannesburg-based researchers.
One of the strikers said, "We were being shot as if we were criminals. But we never stole from anyone. All we wanted was our right to a better life and better working conditions."
Another strike leader describes a meeting with police before the massacre took place.
"In our discussions they said they were sent by the government and had full rights to kill."
Peter Alexander and the rest of the research team have written exclusively for Socialist Worker. The evidence they present has not yet appeared in the mainstream media. Peter said the team'a investigation shows "that strikers were surrounded by heavily armed police and soldiers, and were killed while fleeing from gunfire."