Lawyer likens Marikana shooting to apartheid massacre


Shooting Deathsource: The Guardian
published: 6 January 2013

When South Africa’s apartheid police massacred 69 people in Sharpeville in 1960, the revulsion spread as far as northern England. James Nichol, then 15, took part in his first street protest.

“I remember there were about 20 of us and I think we marched in single file with a placard each around Newcastle because there wasn’t really enough for a demonstration,” he said.

More than 50 years later, Nichol, a criminal lawyer, has travelled to South Africa to stand up for the victims of another state-sponsored massacre of protesters. But this time the police who shot dead 34 striking mineworkers in Marikana were serving a democratic, black majority government.

Nichol is working pro bono for the legal team representing dead workers’ families at the judicial commission of inquiry into August’s tragedy at the Lonmin platinum mine.

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