Top of the Morning: South African Police Fire on Protest, Killing 34; Syria Humanitarian Update

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Police Fire On Miners in South Africa, Killing 34. A Turning Point for Post Apartheid South Africa.

For days, rival mining unions have waged violent battle with each other around the Lonmin platinum mines in South Africa. The violence took a sharp turn yesterday as police fired on a crowd, sending shockwaves across the country. At least 78 were wounded and 34 killed. “Police commissioner Riah Phiyega said officers had only fired when the machete wielding protesters surged through their lines of defense, past officers firing rubber bullets and stun grenades…The shooting left a field strewed with bodies and a deepening fault line between the governing African National Congress and a nation that, 18 years after the end of apartheid, is increasingly impatient with deep poverty, rampant unemployment and yawning inequality…In a scene replayed endlessly on television that reminded some South Africans of the days when the police of the apartheid government opened fire on protesters, heavily armed officers shot into a charging crowd of workers who walked off the job last Friday, demanding higher wages.The strike and the government’s iron-fisted response are emblematic of the frustration with the slow pace of transforming South Africa’s largely white-owned business establishment and the growing perception that the A.N.C. and its allies have become too cozy with big business.” (NYT

2.5 Million Syrians in Need of Humanitarian Assistance

From the UN: “United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said on Thursday as many as 2.5 million people were in need of aid in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have been fighting rebels seeking his overthrow for 17 months. Speaking in Syria where she met Prime Minister Wael al-Halki and other officials this week, Amos urged government forces and rebels to do more to protect civilians caught up in the violence. ‘Over a million people have been uprooted and face destitution. Perhaps a million more have urgent humanitarian needs due to the widening impact of the crisis on the economy and people’s livelihoods,’ she told reporters in Damascus. ‘Back in March, we estimated that a million people were in need of help. Now as many as 2.5 million are in need of assistance and we are working to update our plans and funding requirements.’” (AlertNet