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45 striking miners shot dead in South Africa

North London Solidarity Federation reproduce a powerful statement by Ayanda Kota - a member of the militant South African shack dwellers organisation, Abahlali baseMjondolo, in protest at the murder of 45 striking miners by the South African police force and the role played by the ruling ANC party (once presided over by Nelson Mandela) in allegedly facilitating the police to carry out such acts of violence.

If you wish to express your anger at this, consider phoning the South African embassy in London at 0207-451-7299 and emailing them at london.general@dirco.gov.za .

Police attack miners demo in Madrid

The police have attacked the massive demonstration in Madrid today in support of the miners. They have fired rubber bullets out of vans, shot tear gas, hit people with rifle butts, beaten elderly miners and have injured a small girl with a rubber bullet. On the ground after a police charge you could see discarded walking sticks and miners’ helmets.

huge crowds turn out to greet miners in Madrid

As the Spanish miners march towards Plaza del Sol in Madrid with their lamps lit, huge crowds turn out to cheer them on. The miners have been on strike for more than forty days against pit closures.

The popular mobilisation in solidarity with the miners includes 15-M , Marea Verde (against education cuts), Sindicato de Metal CNT Madrid, Solidaridad Obrera, CGT Madrid, the mainstream unions CC.OO and UGT, and neighbourhood assemblies. 

The miners say they will stay in Madrid until a solution is reached. The right wing government of Madrid, who have been taking repressive measures against striking workers in the city, have said it is forbidden for the miners to camp in Plaza del Sol.

The miners' march is only a day away from Madrid

The struggle against pit closures in northern Spain continues with the miners marching nearly 400 kilometres to Madrid. The march from the coalfields is nearly at the edge of the capital, where there will be a mass protest against plans to close down the mining industry.

The "Marcha Negra" started on the 22nd of June from Asturias, Leon and Teruel, all marching towards Madrid. The march from Asturias left from Mieres with eighty miners, with thousands of people there to see them off. The march from Leon, also with eighty miners, set off from Villablino and Bembibre. The two columns from Asturias and Leon met in La Robla with a lot of emotion and then marched together as the Marcha Norte, while the Aragon column from Teruel marched to Madrid from the north east.

Letter from an Asturias miner

We have translated this letter from a retired Asturias miner, responding to comments about the struggle and talking about his experiences. He explains a lot of the background to the dispute.

Miners in northern Spain block motorways and occupy pitheads against job losses and pit closures.

An indefinite strike started in the mines last week after the government announced a 60% cut in subsidies. This will mean effectively the end of the mining industry. The mining counties have already been hard hit by the crisis. Youth unemployment has tripled in Asturias since the start of the crisis and young people are leaving the county in search of work elsewhere. 
Since the start of the strike the miners have been blocking motorways all over the province of Asturias, using burning tyres and trees. They have blockaded the port in Gijon and blocked the train tracks from Madrid to Gijon. Two mines have been occupied for the past ten days. There have been demonstrations in Olviedo and Mieres in Asturias, and in Madrid.
There will be a general strike in the “comarcas mineras”, the mining counties of Asturias, Castilla Leon and Aragon on the 18th of June.

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