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3000 South African miners rally demanding higher pay

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

Mineworkers take part in a march at Lonmin's Marikana mine in South Africa's North West Province, September 5, 2012. More than 3,000 striking South African miners marched through streets near Lonmin's Marikana mine on Wednesday, the largest protest at the hot spot since police shot dead 34 of their colleagues last month. Police armed with tear gas and assault rifles deployed armoured vehicles and helicopters to keep an eye on the stick-waving protesters.

Thousands of South African miners marched near the Lonmin Marikana mine on Wednesday, demanding higher pay, according to Reuters. Police shot and killed 34 of their coworkers last month, but Wednesday's protest did not turn violent, Reuters reports:

One man at the front of the column waved a placard reading "We want 12,500 or nothing else", a reference to the group's demand for a hike in base pay to 12,500 rand ($1,500) a month, more than double their current salary.

The marchers retreated after a two-hour standoff at an entrance of Lonmin's nearby Karee mine and talks between a delegation of protesters and management. There was no violence.

The strike for the pay rise by rock drill operators and other miners is now in its fourth week and is threatening to cripple London-headquartered Lonmin. Only 4.2 percent of its shift workers reported for duty on Wednesday. Continue reading.

Kim Ludbrook / EPA

Some of the thousands of striking miners from the Lonmin platinum mine march to the gates of the Karee Mine as part of their mass action in an attempt to get high wages, Marikana, South Africa, Sept. 5. Many of the miners protesting today carried posters of their fallen comrades.

Denis Farrell / AP

Police try to prevent striking mine workers marching to the Karee shaft at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa Sept, 5 to hand over a memorandum to mine management. Miners are refusing to return to work until their demands over low pay and working conditions are met.

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The South African politician blamed for inflaming the miners' strikes there told NBC News that the treatment of the poor is worse now than it was under apartheid. Julius Malema, - expelled from the ruling African National Congress for his radical views - says he wants to spread the chaos, that left 34 miners dead. NBC's Rohit Kachroo reports.